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Appomattox NHP receives field trip grant

Appomattox Court House National Historical Park is one of 186 federal sites selected to receive a 2015 field trip grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks.

In partnership with the Appomattox 1865 Foundation (the park’s Friends Group) and Lynchburg City Schools, the park will host more than 600 fourth grade students from the Lynchburg City School System who will participate in field trips to the park to explore the historic village, march in the footsteps of soldiers, and record their experiences in learning about this site.

This grant, part of the Foundation’s Open OutDoors for Kids program, supports the White House youth initiative, Every Kid in a Park.

“It is inspiring to see the National Park Foundation and many other partners step up to support our goal of getting fourth graders and their families into parks, public lands and waters that belong to all Americans,” U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said.

“These generous grants will ensure children across the country have an opportunity to experience the great outdoors in their community while developing a lifelong connection to our nation’s land, water and wildlife.”

National Park Foundation grants have made it possible for more than 400,000 students (including this year’s grantees) to visit national parks and other public lands and waters.

“We want to help people everywhere, from all backgrounds, discover how national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and other public lands and waters are relevant to their lives, and the best way to do that is to give people the opportunity to experience them first-hand,” president of the National Park Foundation Will Shafroth said.

“Through our grants that provide funding for transportation and in-park learning, we are able to connect youth and their families to these special places and inspire people across the country to find their park which, in turn, can foster a lifelong connection to all that public lands and waters have to offer.”

Funding will support pre-visit classroom materials for students and teachers, bus transportation to the park and art supplies for students to use during their field trip experiences to the park.

Fourth graders from across Lynchburg will walk through history, tracing the steps of Union and Confederate soldiers who fought in the Appomattox battles in April 1865. They meet village residents and learn about their life and experiences, and explore the McLean House to learn about the surrender meeting from the perspective of the Silent Witness — young Lulu McLean’s rag doll that sat on the mantel in the room during the historic event.

Students will receive artist sketchbooks and pencils where they will record what they witnessed during their field trip experience.

Superintendent Robin Snyder is very appreciative of the support from the National Park Foundation.

“This grant gives us the opportunity to introduce 635 fourth graders in the Lynchburg City schools to the park and its amazing stories by walking in a soldier’s footsteps and exploring the buildings of this site of national significance,” Syyder said.

“The field trips will allow us to tell the story of the surrender and highlight multiple perspectives of people who witnessed the events and felt the impacts of the end of the war and emancipation.”

For the full list of grantees, and their projects, visit www.nationalparks.org/everykidinapark.