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park4 This week, your assignment is to visit and enjoy a park. Any park will do… whether you are lucky enough to be within proximity of one of the national parks or if you have a local open green space. Find time in your schedule to go to the park. Bring your homework or take your lunch or dinner if time is a crunch.  Tie up your sneakers or hiking boots because this week, as a whole nation, we celebrate our national commitment to parks.park6

This week (April 18 – 26) is National Park Week. The National Park Service and the National Park Foundation collaborate to ensure the stability, enhancement, and endearment of parks and open green spaces for every one of any age and ability. During this entire week, every national park in the United States is free to enter; no admission required. Most parks are already free, but this includes all 59 of America’s larger famous parks such as Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Dry Tortugas, Big Bend, and Yellowstone. Check out this list.

park5 Read National Park Week: Get ready to get wild (USA Today). Click through the various images. Are you amazed at all of the spectacular natural space that exists here in the United States? Consider the national parks that you have visited before. What are the elements that make that park special? Why might this area be protected? Why is it even important at all to set up and maintain parks?park3

National Park Day is tied in with Earth Day (April 22). Many schools pay extra attention to the environment and our planet at this time; what better way to study and appreciate all of the precious resources than to explore the natural beauty of a park. In fact, Obama will visit the Florida Everglades on Earth Day — to talk about climate change (Read this Washington Post article and watch the video clip).

park1 Take a look through some of the parks featured on the New York Times’ National Parks Travel Coverage. Click over to the Chicago Tribune’s article Taking the kids – and finding your park. Continue with the Tribune’s collection of links covering many of the national parks. Find out what the Los Angeles Times recommends; read National Park Week begins with free admission this weekend and Your vacation guide to national parks of the west.park7

The parks that exist from town to town are available for everyone to enjoy. Anyone who would like to visit any of these open green spaces have a right to explore the area while also having the responsibility to keep it clean and safe for others. So often, we get tracked in our busy lives and forget to visit the park and just stop and appreciate nature.