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Pop Singer Funding Hawaiian National-Park Trips [WATCH]

Nov 13, 2015 05:58 PM EST
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The musician Jack Johnson, already known as a conservationist, has pledged $100,000 to fund field trips for fourth-graders -- with the goal of giving 17,000 students in Hawaii access to national parks.

The funding from Johnson and his wife Kim will take place from their Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation and through the federal Every Kid in a Park program, which was launched by President Obama in February 2015. The partnership will also involve the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to a release. The Every Kid in a Park program provides free entry to national parks and other federal lands and waters to fourth-grade students and their families for a year, according to the White House website.

The partnership was recently announced in an outdoor celebration at the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge on O'ahu's North Shore. This is one of O'ahu's few remaining wetland habitats and is home to four endangered waterbirds, ʻalae kea (Hawaiian coot, Fulica alai), koloa maoli (Hawaiian duck, Anas wyvilliana), ʻalae ʻula (Hawaiian gallinule, Gallinula chloropus sandvicensis), and āeʻo(Hawaiian stilt, Himantopus mexicanus knudseni). Many migratory seabirds also pass through, and the endangered Hawaiian monk seal and green sea turtle spend time there.

"Our children are among our most precious resources," Associate Chief Mary Wagner of the U.S. Department of the Interior said in the release. "The generosity of Jack Johnson will go far beyond a school-bus ride to public lands. His offer to ensure that all fourth graders in Hawai‘i can connect to the natural world will no doubt spark the beginning of an indelible link to the outdoors."

"It's when we visit new places that we are truly inspired to learn about them," Johnson said in the release. "What better way to expand the next generation's knowledge of Hawai‘i's unique history, culture and environment than to encourage them to use all of their senses to explore the important sites around these islands."

If fourth graders want to print their paper pass for free entry to federal lands and waters, they can log onto the www.everykidinapark.gov website and do an educational activity there.

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).
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-Follow Catherine on Twitter @TreesWhales

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