November 18, 2017 6:14 am Last modified: 12:21 pm

Buck Island Reef National Monument Receives Ticket to Ride Grant

Buck Island Reef National Monument is one of 65 national parks selected to receive a 2014 Ticket to Ride Grant from the National Park Foundation (NPF), the official charity of America’s national parks. The program ‘Bringing More Youth Back to Our Reef’ supports the visit of 750 public school 5th graders from the St. Croix schools to Buck Island Reef National Monument for a day long trip to see the reef and the island ecosystems.
Now in its third year, the Ticket to Ride program provides the much-needed funds to make national park field trips possible for schools across the country.
“We know that one of the greatest barriers keeping America’s youth from visiting their national parks is access to transportation,” said Neil Mulholland, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “Through our Ticket to Ride program, we eliminate that barrier and open up a world of experiential learning in our nation’s largest classrooms – our national parks – and help inspire stewardship of these treasured places.”
This program is the first sustained attempt by the National Park Service (NPS) to engage the island community by bringing an entire generation over the next decade to Buck Island Reef National Monument. The funding supports two in-class activities, and a trip to Buck Island Reef. It includes terrestrial travel to Christiansted National Historic Site, where students take boats to Buck Island Reef, 1.5 miles off St. Croix’s shore. Ranger Benito Vegas and volunteers from the St. Croix Hiking Club lead the on-island hike and the shoreline swimming activities on the West Beach. Since 2012, the NPF and the NPS concessionaires, offering educational tours to Buck Island Reef, have supported this program.
Buck Island is home to some of the most pristine coral reef habitats in the United States; it is one of the only refuges of Elkhorn and Staghorn coral in the entire Caribbean.
‘We are thrilled to have a third year of support for this program,’ said Joel Tutein, superintendent of the park. ‘With NPF support, we can offer an unparalleled experience to a generation of our island’s youth, demonstrating firsthand what is behind the NPS mission. People travel thousands of miles each year to see something extraordinary that is right in these children’s backyard.’
For trip dates and the participating schools see the attached schedule.
The 2014 Ticket to Ride grants were made possible, in large part, through the support of Bayer USA Foundation, Disney and Subaru of America.
For more information on znpf and how to support and protect America’s national parks, visit www.nationalparks.org. For more information on the National Park Service, visit www.nps.gov.
School/PowerPoint/Trip/Follow-Up Activity
Evelyn Williams/Jan. 12, 2015/Jan. 14/Jan. 16
Lew Muckle/Jan. 26, 2015/Jan. 28/Jan. 30
Alexander Henderson/Feb. 9, 2015/Feb.11/Feb. 13
Juanita Gardine/Feb. 23, 2015/Jan.25/Feb. 27
Claude O. Markoe/March 9, 2015/March 11/March 13
Pearl B. Larsen/March 23, 2015/March 25/March 27

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