For the fourth year in a row, the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) and the Santa Fe Public Schools (SFPS) collaborated to make sure every fourth grader received an Every Kid Outdoors pass which gives the students and their families free access to more than 2,000 federally managed sites, including national forests, parks, monuments, wildlife refuges and waters during the 2021-2022 school year.
Fourth-grade pass holders can also get a free permit for their families to cut their own Christmas tree on the SFNF. The Christmas tree permits will be available through all SFNF offices and online through Recreation.gov on Nov. 22. Please note that Recreation.gov charges a $2.50 service fee for online Christmas tree permits, including the free Every Kid Outdoor permits.
Every Kid Outdoors is a federal initiative to build the next generation of environmental stewards by giving children a chance to explore, learn and play in America’s great outdoors. By targeting fourth graders one year at a time, the program ensures that every child in the country has the opportunity to visit public lands and historic sites by the age of 11.
The SFNF worked with Dr. Ruby Estrada, Sustainability Program Specialist for SFPS, to distribute almost 1,000 Every Kid Outdoors passes to 59 fourth grade teachers at 21 public schools in Santa Fe.
“As we navigate through the pandemic and transition back into schools, outdoor learning is more important than ever,” said Santa Fe Public Schools Superintendent Hilario “Larry” Chavez. “Providing the opportunity for students to learn and enjoy the outdoors not only in Santa Fe but across the U.S. is an amazing option for our fourth-grade students and their families.”
“For kids growing up in Northern New Mexico, the Santa Fe National Forest is an easily accessible portal to all the wonders of nature,” Forest Supervisor Debbie Cress said. “Programs like Every Kid Outdoors give families an incentive to get away from the pandemic and other stressors in their lives by visiting our public lands and learning more about the national resources we all value.”
The passes admit fourth graders and their families to National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service sites that charge entrance fees and cover standard amenity fees at Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and US Army Corps of Engineers sites. They do not cover expanded amenity fees such as camping, boat launch or interpretive fees.