Friends of Charleston National Parks was recently awarded an Open OutDoors for Kids grant of $6,000 from the National Park Foundation. The goal of the grant program is to connect students to their national parks through field trips, classroom engagements, and educational activities.

“Through multiple immersive experiences, including both field trips and virtual classroom activities, National Parks Foundation can help more students experience national parks.  Hoping to help mold lifelong national park stewards, this program helps students, teachers and families feel safe and supported as they explore national parks.  Using the spectacular and unparalleled resources of our nation’s 400+ national parks, the program connects more children to their culture and heritage, enhances hands-on learning opportunities, and deepens the connections to the natural world,” according to the website.

Through a partnership with Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park and the Friends of Charleston National Parks, the Open OutDoors for Kids grant funds will be used to cover bus and boat transportation costs for field trips for students from Charleston County School District.

“We are ecstatic to provide this opportunity for teachers to get their students out of the classroom to learn about and experience the unique history and environment of Fort Sumter. For many, it’s the first time to visit a national park and for some, it’s their first boat ride and visit downtown,” said Cheri Yates, Executive Director of Friends of Charleston National Parks.

While the program aligns with state social studies standards, “I think this gives fourth graders a sense of place; they can be where the history happened which is most powerful. The program addresses climate impact, features inclusive storytelling and fosters future stewards.”

Friends of Charleston National Parks continues to raise much needed funds for projects like this for all three of the Charleston national parks — Fort Sumter, Fort Moultrie, and the Charles Pinckney Historic Site.