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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living On Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

Facts about... 120 years of the Fresh Air Fund.


CURWOOD: This summer over 10,000 New York City children can look forward to some fresh air, thanks to the Fresh Air Fund, which turns 120 this year. It was in 1877 that the Reverend Willard Parsons, a minister in the small town of Sherman, Pennsylvania, thought to give poor children from the city a chance to experience the beauty and serenity of fertile, unspoiled land. The reverend asked his congregation to host poor children living in New York City tenements. That year, 9 children left the city for country vacations. They learned to farm and they caught fish from the Delaware River. One young girl, Charlotte Buchanan, had such a good time she moved to Sherman permanently. Since then, over 1.6 million disadvantaged children have participated in the program. Each summer about 3,000 kids attend Fresh Air Fund camps in upstate New York. Another 7,000 youngsters live with host families in 13 states and provinces of the eastern US and Canada. And yes, some still go to Sherman to take care of the farm animals and fish in the Delaware. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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