The Washington Post

Shutdown forces cancellation of student environmental ed trips

( / Carolyn Kaster/AP (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Add this to the toll that the government shutdown is taking on people: Several environmental education programs in the greater Washington region have been canceled or altered because they were set in national parks that are now closed.

Thousands of students visit Piscataway National Park in Prince George’s and Charles counties each year on school trips to learn about the environment, history and agriculture through two local foundations, in cooperation with the National Park Service. October is the month these trips begin, and already hundreds of students have been impacted by program cancellations.

The nonprofit Accokeek Foundation welcomes students on its campus and certified organic farm in Piscataway Park to learn about history and agriculture.

The Hard Bargain Farm Education Center of the nonprofit Alice Ferguson Foundation holds environmental education programs in Piscataway Park from its 330-acre working farm on the banks of the Potomac River across from Mount Vernon, the Virginia home of George Washington.  More than a third of the young people who participate in these programs come from under-served areas in Virginia, the District and Maryland.

As the government shutdown continues, more programs will have to be canceled, or, if possible, rescheduled. So while public schools are open during the shutdown, education is being affected.

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.



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Valerie Strauss · October 6, 2013

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