Children in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho are fortunate that they have the opportunity to visit Yellowstone frequently. But how many of them do?
According to information from the Yellowstone Park Foundation, many school children from the states surrounding the world’s first national park have never visited Yellowstone. The Foundation is working to change that with its new crowdfunding effort designed to help kids participate in Expedition Yellowstone.
The crowdfunding goal is $10,000 and is hosted on Indiegogo.com. Since its May 13 launch, 69 donors have contributed $4,127, to raise 50 percent of the crowdfunding goal. The campaign ends on June 22, but there is still time to donate and have a significant impact on a young student’s life.
“The money raised from individual donations will go directly toward scholarships for school groups that would not otherwise be able to participate in this outstanding program,” said Karen Bates Kress, president of the Yellowstone Park Foundation. “Every gift up to $5,000 will be matched 1-to-1 by an anonymous YPF donor.
Expedition Yellowstone immerses students in grades 4-8 in Yellowstone history, wildlife, geology, and stewardship, and is led by park rangers. However, this multi-day, life-changing program is not affordable for every school.
Last year, 41 school groups from Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming participated in Expedition Yellowstone. Nearly half of these groups received scholarship funds from YPF to help pay for the curriculum-based, award-winning program. For around 25% of these 814 area students, it was their first time visiting Yellowstone.
“Every child should be able to experience the wonders of Yellowstone,” said Kress. “We want to ensure that money is not a barrier to students participating in this exciting adventure.”
YPF established the scholarship fund in 2003 to help more school groups attend Expedition Yellowstone. Today, on average, 45% of the total class fees for the groups receiving scholarships are covered by YPF scholarship funds. The remaining funds are covered through school district funds, support from families, and creative fundraising efforts. Learn more at www.ypf.org/ExpeditionYellowstone.