Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park is one of 34 national parks across the country selected to receive a 2013 America’s Best Idea grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks.
Inspired by the critically acclaimed Ken Burns’ documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” the America’s Best Idea program funds park activities designed to connect diverse, underserved and under-engaged populations throughout the United States with their national parks in innovative and meaningful ways.
“One of the great things about our national parks is that every American can relate to these treasured places if given the chance to experience them,” said Jonathan B. Jarvis, director of the National Park Service. “It’s our mission to engage visitors from all backgrounds in the diverse stories that we tell in our national parks. Thanks to the support of the National Park Foundation, we can propel that outreach, and engage new audiences that would otherwise never have the opportunity to experience a national park.”
“The America’s Best Idea program gives people – particularly youth – incredible opportunities to connect to our national parks through unique and innovative ways,” said Neil Mulholland, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “From experiences that center on history, the environment and even adventure, we are able to capture the imagination of a new generation of park-goers in ways that benefit their lives and the future of the parks.”
The America’s Best Idea grant will allow the park to provide local Title I schools funds to assist with transportation to the park. Once students arrive, they will participate in educational programs focused on abolition and emancipation related to soldiers who fought in the Civil War and the Battle of Chickamauga in particular. Visiting schools will also receive materials explaining the use of “freedom quilts” during the Civil War and will complete their own quilt square. All the returned squares will be sewn together in order to create a contemporary “freedom quilt” that will be displayed at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.
Upon hearing that the park received the grant Park Superintendent Cathy Cook stated, “This grant provides the much needed funding to get them out of the classroom to experience a piece of our American history first-hand. We look forward the having the students here.”
For a full listing of participating parks and program descriptions, visit the National Park Foundation website.
The National Park Foundation wishes to thank L.L. Bean, the Anschutz Family Foundation, and The Ahmanson Foundation for their generous support of the America’s Best Idea program.
For more information on the National Park Foundation or how to support and protect America’s national parks, visit www.nationalparks.org. For more information about the National Park Service, visit www.nps.gov.