12.10.08

Burr Unveils Kids’ Passport for National Parks

Book aimed at increasing interest in National Parks

Today, U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) along with Mary Bomar, Director of the National Park Service (NPS), introduced a new book titled Kids' Passport to Your National Parks Companion. The book was introduced at an event in front of 110 schoolchildren at John Eaton Elementary School in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the book is to promote an active interest in America's history and natural environment by encouraging children to visit the country's national parks.

"This passport offers a hands-on gateway to many of America's most beautiful natural treasures, and I'm sure our children will have a lot of fun filling in the blank pages," Burr said. "I hope this idea will excite a whole generation of young Americans about the beauty and history of our nation. Too often today, America's youth find their entertainment on television and computers, and hopefully this passport book will help kids realize all the fun there is to be had outdoors."

At the unveiling ceremony this morning, Director Bomar explained to the school children how to use their copies of the passport and praised Senator Burr for his work in making it become a reality. Burr spearheaded the idea for the Kids' Passport to Your National Parks Companion to combat children's increasing disconnection from America's natural environment. Similar to the existing NPS Passport Program, the book encourages schoolchildren to experience the beauty and history of their country by visiting its 391 National Parks, monuments, battlefields, and historic places. Upon visiting a park, children can have their passport stamped and write down memories and notes from their visit.

At the event, Burr addressed the students, dividing them into two groups to participate in a mock legislative session. After explaining how a bill becomes law, he challenged the students to work together to pass a bill that would provide for free ice cream in school cafeterias once a week. Working with the children, he taught them how to amend the bill, vote on it, and send it to the President for a signature.

After their hands on civics lesson, Burr enlisted the help of several students to assist him and Director Bomar in unveiling a poster sized-photograph of the Kids' Passport to Your National Parks Companion. Following the event, the students were encouraged to get their complementary copies of the book stamped by NPS Rangers and got autographs and pictures with Senator Burr and Director Bomar.

"When your parents talk about taking a vacation or a trip to visit family members, look through this book to see what parks are close to where you will be traveling and encourage your parents to take you there," Burr said to the students. "There is a lot more fun to be had in national parks than there is on television."

Marketed at children ages 7-11, the book will be available for purchase through Eastern National, a non-profit association whose proceeds benefit NPS. It will be sold at most national park sites nationwide.