Parks Paid Forward

Every year on my birthday I am reminded that it’s time to renew my annual National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands visitors pass. The America The Beautiful pass gives me entry into most national parks and monuments across the country. It’s a gift I give to myself to assure the protection and preservation of our natural resources and cultural heritage. I make it a point to mark the occasion by offering a matching gift to my community of a free pass to anyone who can use one but may not, for whatever reason, purchase one for themselves. The only catch is that person must be nominated by someone else.

I believe that by supporting the interests of others to enjoy the public land we love is the best way to protect them well into the future. If we pay forward the joy and solace we receive from our public land we can inspire generations of environmental stewards. In 2023 The Joy Trip Project 4th annual Parks Paid Forward pass was awarded to Levi Jenkins of Chicago, Illinois. Nominated by Laura Derks, he has demonstrated his desire to make our public lands accessible to everyone in his community. “A young professional and graduate, he was this past summer’s co-lead of Chicago Green Ambassadors at the Field Museum,” Laura wrote. “He is kind, caring, and loves gorgeous nature spaces.”

Those who receive this modest award are under no obligation to do anything other than make good use this gift. It is my hope that they will inspire others to not only experience the natural world and their national heritage in a meaningful way, but also encourage others to do the same.

“The best gift is the gift of nature. All that we have comes from this gift,” Levi wrote upon receiving his award. “I send gratitude for the abundance that the earth gives so generously. “

Levi Jenkins

The Joy Trip Project is working to make a National Park Pass available to anyone who needs one. This year I aim to give away at least one award each month. If you know of a person who can take advantage of this opportunity, please make your nomination today. That person need only be over the age of 18, not be a member of your household or your immediate family and reside somewhere in the United States. Just fill out the form below with your name and email address. In the comment field tell us the name of the person you are nominating a briefly explain why you think they should receive this award.

From our list of nominations, we’ll select one recipient each month through 2024.

If you would like to support this effort with a financial contribution, please make a donation of any amount at the link below: