Educational field trips to Acadia National Park are a staple of school life for Maine kids. Friends of Acadia is offering transportation scholarships to make those trips more affordable PHOTO COURTESY OF FRIENDS OF ACADIA

School trip grants offered



ACADIA NATIONAL PARK — Friends of Acadia and Acadia National Park are collaborating to enable more K-12 students to experience one of their national parks. Recognizing that transportation costs may be prohibitive for some schools to plan a field trip to the park, Friends of Acadia will offer transportation scholarships for day trips to Acadia and Saint Croix Island International Historic Site starting this spring.

“Friends of Acadia is excited to be expanding our role in Youth Engagement over the next two years,” said FOA President David MacDonald. “We are looking for ways to assure that school children can use Acadia as an extension of classroom learning. Young children need the chance to have hands-on learning experiences with park rangers in Acadia to uncover Maine’s glacial history, explore the homesteading life of early Mainers, discover unique shoreline and forest habitats and understand issues that will influence Maine’s future. Acadia is a national treasure and dynamic outdoor classroom. Every Maine child should have access to this special landscape.”

“We don’t want transportation funding to limit school access to Acadia or St. Croix,” added Conservation Project Manager Paige Steele. “We have initiated this scholarship program to help teachers overcome this barrier. Teachers are encouraged to apply now for spring scholarships and before June 19 for fall scholarships. Priority will be given to schools that demonstrate the greatest financial need, but all are welcome to apply. Scholarships may be used to attend day programs on Mount Desert Island, at Schoodic or at Saint Croix Island International Historic Site.”

The first step is to book a field trip. Visit www.nps.gov/acad for ranger-led field trip options in Acadia. For St. Croix, call ranger Meg Scheid at 454-3871 and visit their website at www.nps.gov/sacr.

After the field trip is scheduled, teachers should apply for the transportation scholarship through Friends of Acadia. The application can be found on the FOA website at friendsofacadia.org.

Deadlines for transportation scholarship applications are April 27 for spring scholarships, June 19 for fall scholarships and March 18, 2016, for spring 2016 scholarships.

Once a transportation scholarship has been approved, teachers will be asked to complete an educational fee waiver to enable their school bus to enter the park for free. The waiver can be found on the Acadia National Park website, www.nps.gov/acad. The educational entrance fee waiver combined with the transportation scholarship creates a low-cost field trip experience for area schools.

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