Voyageurs National Park and Partner Voyageurs Conservancy Receives National Park Foundation Open OutDoors for Kids Grant

Voyageurs National Park and Partner Voyageurs Conservancy Receives National Park Foundation Open OutDoors for Kids Grant

December 8, 2022 News -- KSDM-KGHS 0

International Falls, MN: Voyageurs National Park and park partner Voyageurs Conservancy are proud to receive an Open OutDoors for Kids grant from the National Park Foundation (NPF). This grant will further the reach of the Voyageurs Classroom Initiative, a joint education program that connects thousands of youth to Voyageurs National Park and encourages students to recognize their national park as an outdoor classroom, and an inviting space for families to deepen connections with one another.

Project support will increase staff capacity for the Dark Sky Classroom and expand park-based field trips. Launched in February 2022, the Dark Sky Classroom brings students out of their desks and immerses them in the wonder of Voyageurs National Park’s night sky through live virtual field trips and park visits. Students learn about inspiring phenomena such as northern lights and how to engineer solutions that protect starry skies. Schools from across the state and nation are eligible to participate in this free program.

“We are excited for this opportunity to bring more students to Voyageurs through virtual and in person learning and expand the knowledge and love of the dark skies over Voyageurs,” said Tawyna Schoewe, Lead Program Manager at Voyageurs National Park.

The Open OutDoors for Kids grant will support a park ranger and Conservancy education specialist to bring the Dark Sky Classroom to students across Minnesota and beyond. Additionally, funding supports Voyageurs Teacher Workshops – an exciting professional development opportunity for educators. Participating teachers will dive into Voyageurs Classroom curriculum; learn engaging classroom lessons; and become experts on the rich ecology, geology, and cultural history of Minnesota’s national park.

“Teachers are our strongest allies in fostering the next generation of park stewards. This Open OutDoors for Kids grant empowers us to reach educators in innovative ways and offer teacher workshops in the park and remotely. Together, we can bring Voyageurs National Park directly to classrooms,” said Breanna Trygg, Education & Outreach Director at Voyageurs Conservancy.

Since 2011, NPF has engaged more than one million students in educational programs connecting them with national parks across the country. NPF’s goal is to connect another one million students to parks by 2024. The NPF Open OutDoors for Kids program is made possible by private philanthropy, including support from Youth Engagement and Education premier partner Union Pacific Railroad. Additional support is provided by Apple, Sierra, Columbia Sportswear, Parks Project, The Batchelor Foundation, Inc., Humana, and many individual donors.


The Voyageurs Classroom offers engaging opportunities for students to connect to Minnesota’s national park through hands-on learning. Our lesson plans support national and state standards, including the Next Generation Science Standards and Minnesota Social Studies Standards. If you are an educator interested in bringing Voyageurs to your classroom or participating in a Teacher Workshop, please contact Breanna Trygg at for more information.


The Voyageurs Conservancy is the official charitable partner of Voyageurs National Park.

Established in 1965, the Conservancy was the driving force to permanently protect the Rainy, Kabetogama, Namakan, and Sand Point region of northern Minnesota. Today, the Voyageurs Conservancy is a community of people dedicated to preserving, protecting, and sharing the unique experience of Minnesota’s national park. The organization is a 501c3 nonprofit that works directly with the National Park Service to support conservation and recreation projects, advance education and outreach, and protect the wild nature of the park. It continues to connect people to the outdoors where they can learn, volunteer, and recreate, while preserving the park for future generations. Its main initiatives include:

WILD VOYAGEURS: Environmental stewardship and conservation of the park’s amazing lands, waters, wildlife and starry skies
NEXT GENERATION: Educating children and young adults through the Voyageurs Classroom Initiative

VOYAGEURS EXPERIENCE: Improving your experience and connection to the park and sustainable access for all
Learn more, sign up for their e-newsletter, volunteer, or become a member at