Next year, the National Park Service is celebrating their 100th birthday! It’s going to be a big year, and I guess Obama couldn’t hold back the excitement any longer — on February 19th, the ‘Every Kid in a Park’ initiative was launched. For the 2015-2016 school year, all 4th graders and their families can roam any national park, national forest, national wildlife refuge, and pretty much any public land and water space for FREE.
Considering that 4th graders generally spend more time on their iPhones than exploring the wonderful outdoors, I am giving the White House two thumbs up.
Well, that’s how I felt before I read this: “[Bill Nye] was recently appointed as a centennial ambassador for the National Park Service ahead of the agency’s 100th birthday next year in hopes of inspiring the next generation of park-goes to fall in love with the natural world.”
That’s when I got jealous.
I, along with the rest of my generation, owe my love of the natural world to Bill Nye. We dreamt of the days that the teacher didn’t have a lesson plan, because that meant that the VHS player would get fired up and we’d get our minds blown. We worshipped Bill Nye the Science Guy.
By appointing him as the ambassador for the NPS, a lot of college student’s ears are going to perk up. We will flock to national parks in giant herds, yet find disappointment in the price of a one-day park pass. Our wallets barren, we will return to our futons and Netflix reruns.
Pictured: College kids flocking Julia Pfeiffer State Park, which isn’t a national park, but you get the point.
When I said we “worshipped” Bill, I really mean “worship”. As we’ve grown older, Bill has grown with us. We aren’t naive children anymore, and he isn’t sticking to naive lessons. Although Bill still has his incredible comedic teaching skills that hits the funny bone of every kid-at-heart, he is also a revolutionary because he refuses the demands to avoid teaching politically sensitive topics, such as evolution or climate change.
As we’ve made the jump from Crayola to iClickers, he’s jumped from school VHS tapes to heated debates on CNN (You tell her, Bill!).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of our nation for making it possible for our 4th graders to see the natural wonders of our land without a hefty price tag. It’s a huge step in the right direction.
But making Bill Nye the NPS ambassador? That’s just a tease. It’s only fair that they would let the O.G. fans into the national parks for free, too.
I think a petition is in order. If you agree, comment below.