Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay (D) Missouri announced today that the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (the Gateway Arch) has been selected as one of 49 national parks participating in the 2012 America's Best Idea programsponsored by the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks.
Inspired by the critically-acclaimed Ken Burns documentaryThe National Parks: America's Best Idea, the America's Best Idea grant program funds park projects designed to connect diverse, under-engaged populations throughout the United States with their national parks in innovative and meaningful ways.
"I want to congratulate the outstanding leadership team at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, the National Park Foundation and the wonderful students at Maplewood-Richmond Heights elementary school on this terrific honor,said the Congressman."The Gateway Arch is truly one of the jewels of my congressional district. Across the nation, this grant program will strengthen the connections between our magnificent national parks and young Americans. It will also help the National Park Service open up our nation's legacy to students in a very interactive way."
In St. Louis, the grant will support reaching out to approximately 365 students and 30 educators by 'adopting' all the classes at Maplewood-Richmond Heights Elementary School. The Arch will work with 2nd through 6th graders during the fall. They will have contact with the students and educators on several occasions throughout the semester, both at the school and at the Arch. Students will visit the park in the spring and activities developed and lessons learned from this project will be carried over into the school's curriculum in future years.
"We are proud to provide the much needed support to create unique opportunities for all Americans to personally connect with their national parks," said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. "The America's Best Idea grants are often the catalyst for extraordinary experiences that develop into lifelong relationships with our national parks for the program participants."
For a full listing of participating parks and program descriptions, please visit the National Park Foundation website.
About the National Park Foundation. The American people own 84 million acres of the world's most treasured memorials, landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites -- all protected in nearly 400 national parks. Chartered by Congress, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America's national parks.