Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

March 23, 2017

Randy Simons
Dan Keefe

New York State Encourages Schools to Apply Now for Spring Field Trip Grants to NYS Parks and Historic Sites

Connect Kids to Parks Grant Program Provides Access to State Parks and Historic Sites

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and Department of Environmental Conservation today reminded New Yorkers that the state is offering grants to public schools to fund field trips to state parks, state lands, and historic sites for science, history and physical education programming.  State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey appeared today with students from Hackett Middle School in Albany, touring the Schuyler Mansion State Historic State, a trip made possible with the new Connect Kids to Parks Transportation Grant Program.

Commissioner Harvey said, "Expanding opportunities for our children to spend time in parks and nature is one of the best things we can do to help them build mind and muscle. By helping state parks and historic sites partner with public schools, we are expanding our children's horizons in important ways."

The Connect Kids to Parks Transportation Grant Program is available to K-12 classrooms in Title 1 and BOCES schools. Grants will reimburse bus costs, tolls, the fee for bus entry into the facility and any programs fees, up to $750/classroom. Grants are accepted on a first-come,first-served basis. Field trip locations covered under the program include:

  • Parks, nature centers or historic sites operated by State Parks
  • Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Education Centers or Fish Hatcheries   
  • Montezuma Audubon Center
  • The Center for Nature Interpretation in the Adirondacks
  • Adirondack Loj
  • Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center.

Funding for the $500,000 Connect Kids to Parks Transportation Grant program comes from the state Environmental Protection Fund's enhanced Environmental Justice programming approved in the 2016-17 State Budget. To date more than 380 schools across the state have applied and will receive funding through the grant. Governor Cuomo's Proposed 2017-18 Budget includes $1 million for the grant program.  
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    DEC Commissioner Seggos said "Connecting New York's young people to our state's vast natural resources and diverse ecosystems is a unique learning experience that will benefit them for years to come while encouraging the next generation of environmental stewards. The future protection of our environment depends on young people and Governor Cuomo is committed to getting kids interested and involved in our shared environment at every opportunity."

    Senator Rich Funke, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks& Recreation said, "Getting kids out and about in our great state parks is an excellent way to enhance classroom curriculum with hands-on activity. I thank the Office of Parks for again offering this opportunity and I look forward to seeing it connect even more students with our state parks this year." Assembly member Daniel O'Donnell, Chair of the Parks, Arts, Sports, and Tourism Committee, said, "Field trips offer a great opportunity to diversify the methods of learning in schools. I fondly remember the trips I took in my middle school years and I am glad to see that the same programs are still here today. Our state has so many sites steeped in culture and history, as well as vibrant natural wonders. There is no better way to celebrate our history and learn the importance of preserving our environment than to have field trips that bring children into contact with it. I applaud the work that is being done through the Connect Kids to Parks Grant."

    Assembly member Patricia Fahy said, "I'm pleased to continue to urge support for this vital tool to ensure that kids who would not otherwise, have access to our state's rich historic and scenic beauty. With the Connect Kids to Parks grant program, educators can teach with park experiences to bring history to life - what books alone cannot fully do." 

    Assembly member John T. McDonald III said, "Experiential learning and stepping outside of the classroom is an invaluable experience for students. We are fortunate to live in a state and region filled with numerous parks, historic sites, and nature centers. I commend New York State Parks for the Connect Kids to Parks Transportation Grant Program which will expand the opportunities for students to learn firsthand about New York's rich history and natural resources."

    The grant application is available on and is reviewed on a rolling basis for field trips anytime in the 2016-17 school year. 

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