Congressman Mike Turner announced that the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park has been selected as one of 49 National Parks participating in the 2012 America’s Best Idea program sponsored by the National Park Foundation. Inspired by the critically-acclaimed Ken Burns documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, the America’s Best Idea grant program funds park projects designed to connect diverse, under-engaged populations throughout the United States with their National Parks.

“I am glad that the National Park Foundation has identified Dayton Aviation Heritage, in our community, as one of America’s great treasures. Our National Parks have and will continue to inspire Americans of all ages. This program continues that tradition, and I’m glad the youth of our community will have an opportunity to participate in this unique project,” said Turner.

This grant, in the amount of $14,350, will help support the teaching of underserved Title 1 youth in West Dayton and at-risk youth in Greene County a methodical approach to scientific research, emphasizing the collection of measurements and observations according to state standards. The park expects to reach 400 participants this year at two venues incorporating six different summer camps with 25 youth each; and ten different schools with 25 youth in each class. The grant will allow the park to provide bus transportation to enable schools to reach its facilities.

“We are proud to provide the much needed support to create unique opportunities for all Americans to personally connect with their national parks,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “The America’s Best Idea grants are often the catalyst for extraordinary experiences that develop into lifelong relationships with our national parks for the program participants.”

Chartered by Congress, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks.  They work hand in hand with the National Park Service to connect Americans to their parks, and to make sure that they are preserved for the generations who will follow.