We all know the benefits of spending time outside in nature, and it is even more important in an ever-increasing digital world for kids to spend time in nature. Playing, exploring, and learning in the great outdoors is essential to children's mental, physical, and emotional development, especially in the early years. Getting kids in nature sets them up for success later in life.
It is so important in fact, that the Connect Kids Field Trip grant program (Connect Kids) was created to reimburse public schools for field trip costs to enable more children to get outside and connect with nature. Schools can be refunded up to $1,000, including transportation, tolls, bus entry fees, and program or attraction fees for visits to a New York State Park, Nature Center, or Historic Site (Parks), or a Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Education Center, fish hatchery, or selected DEC sites. Since the program began in 2016, the Field Trip Grant Program has welcomed 200,000 public school students by funding over 4,000 field trips.
The top five field trip destinations are: Niagara Falls State Park, Old Fort Niagara State Historic Site, Letchworth State Park, Bear Mountain State Park, and Midway State Park. Connect Kids is funded by the New York State Legislature through the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and there is $1 million available for the program.
To learn more about the Connect Kids Field Trip grant program, click here.