Today, Congressman Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville) announced that the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park has been selected to receive an $8,000 grant as part of the 2013 Ticket to Ride program from the National Park Foundation (NPF), the official charity of America's national parks. The Ticket to Ride program, supported by a $500,000 grant from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, helps students explore the outdoors by providing transportation and program support to national parks around the country.
Now in its second year of existence and with continued support from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and Disney Friends for Change, Ticket to Ride provides financial resources for transportation, in-park educational programming, and meals that make national park field trips possible for schools across the country. The grant from Disney will help more than 60,000 students to experience location-based learning in their local national parks this year.
"Providing the means for local youth to access our national parks will give them a lifelong appreciation for the outdoors," said Congressman Vela. "The Ticket to Ride program will inspire the next generation of park enthusiasts while providing the opportunity to learn in a fun and historic setting."
This grant will enable over 2,600 7th grade students from the Brownsville Independent School District to visit the park. The goal is to introduce students to Palo Alto National Battlefield, engage them in park resources, and gain insight and ideas about ways the students envision the park and ways the park can better engage local youth.
Karen Weaver, Outreach Coordinator for Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park, said, "We are excited to receive this grant and for the opportunities it provides to engage kids in Brownsville in a service project at Palo Alto. During their visit, the students will hike out on to the battlefield with paper and pencil to draw their ideas of ways visitors their own age can connect with what happened at this historic site. The students will then meet with park rangers to share their ideas and suggestions on ways the rangers can reach out and engage a new generation of visitors to Palo Alto."
For many students, the Ticket to Ride field trip will be their first visit to a national park. Recognizing that the parks can open a world of experiential learning, the National Park Foundation and the National Park Service are dedicated to providing this access. Through these field trips, young people discover their natural, cultural and historic heritage; participate in volunteer and service-learning activities; enjoy recreational opportunities; and most importantly, begin a lifelong relationship with their national parks.
For more information about Ticket to Ride and other exceptional National Park Foundation programs, please visit www.nationalparks.org.