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Back-to-school season means new class of 4th graders eligible for Every Kid Outdoors

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PORTLAND, Ore., August 30, 2022 -- Back-to-school season means a new class of fourth graders will soon be eligible to enroll in Every Kid Outdoors, a federal program which provides up to a year of free access to National Forests, National Parks, and other public lands for fourth-grade students and their families.

Beginning Sept. 1, fourth graders, parents, and educators can visit the Every Kid Outdoors website at www.everykidoutdoors.gov and learn more about how to obtain free entry to all federal lands, for fourth graders and their accompanying family members.

Students can obtain passes individually by completing a brief online activity. Educators who work with fourth graders can visit the site to download an educational activity guide, after which they'll be able to obtain vouchers for their students. Once printed, students and their families can also redeem the paper voucher for a durable, plastic pass at any Forest Service office where passes are sold. Passes and vouchers are valid for the entire school year, through Aug. 31, 2023.

"Every Kid Outdoors is designed to get kids and their families to explore the outdoors and explore the incredible experiences that are available to them on public lands," said Krystal Fleeger, recreation fee specialist for the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Region. "These passes are intentionally designed to belong to the fourth graders and can only be used when they are present. We want people to get out there and explore these places as a family."

The federal program is designed for fourth-grade students because research shows children ages 9 to 11 are beginning to learn about the world around them, open to new ideas, and likely to form lasting connections to nature and our history when introduced to public lands and historic sites.

"Public lands serve an important role. They're living classrooms, and portals to lifelong learning about the natural and cultural history of forests, grasslands and other treasured places," said Thea Garrett, interim conservation education program manager for the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Region. "Our hope is this program will help inspire the next generation to care for public lands, and to continue to steward these special places for the benefit of future generations."

For more information about Every Kid Outdoors, visit www.everykidoutdoors.gov

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