Money supplied by TVA will cover transportation expenses for elementary aged pupils in Knoxville to visit GSMNP summer time. These summer programs and actions will expose young people to the natural wonders of the Great Smoky Mountains including mathematics and social studies instruction initiatives which reinforce Tennessee school curricula. Park Rangers goes onsite into the Boys & Girls Clubs to provide fun, hands-on actions that help the children become comfortable with the rangers and begin learning about the park’s natural ecosystems. The program also supplies a summer camp experience with one-day in-park field trips to learn about the cultural heritage of the area and the park’s natural biodiversity.

Most of the pupils participating in the program are from Title I schools, including students near or below the poverty level, qualifying for the reduced or free lunch program, also therefore are at the higher risk of collapse. Their participation in the application will be at no cost to their families. Friends of the Smokies expects reaching over 1,500 pupils through the summer schedule for urban youth at 2019.

“We’re excited to finance this summer education program from the Smokies this year,” said Tim Chandler, Friends of the Smokies Executive Director & CEO. “These children are the next generation of park users and stewards, so we’ll jump at any chance we have to achieve them and introduce them into the wonders of the natural world in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.”

Friends of the Smokies will provide an extra $5,000 towards the app through proceeds from its specialty license plate program in Tennessee. For an extra $35 yearly fee, motorists all across Tennessee can support programs such as this using a specialty license plate with a black bear along with sunset over the Great Smoky Mountains. Learn more in BearPlate.org or go to your local county clerk’s office.