With big skies, some very lucky 4th Graders on hand and a White House virtual reality first, President Barack Obama spent today at Yosemite National Park kicking off the summer-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. In a walk and talk interview with National Geographic Channel’s Explorer host Richard Bacon, the Commander-in-chief announced his envy of the 26th POTUS and naturalist Teddy Roosevelt’s ability to take off into the wild for weeks at a time. He also told Bacon that he believed that the National Parks are “America’s best idea.” As well as filming with Nat Geo, including a virtual reality experience to be shown later this summer, Obama was joined on the visit by First Lady Michelle Obama, the First Daughters. Watch a clip of the chat and hike with Explorer‘s Bacon here:
The full interview and hike will be broadcast as as part of Nat Geo’s expanded programming on America’s nation parks, which starts on August 23. Also, “this weekend National Geographic, Facebook and its Oculus team, and Félix & Paul Studios, will shoot The White House’s first 360 virtual reality video experience and capture President Obama visiting Yosemite National Park,” Nat Geo announced today online. That VR experience will also air later this summer, the channel says.
While at Yosemite, the President and the First Lady met up with a group of 4th graders who were also visiting.Telling the kids about the White House’s 2015 Every Kid in a Park initiative,the Obamas gave each of the students an annual pass to the National Parks. In fact, every 4th grader across the nation will be getting such a pass, says the White House.
Obama also used the Nat Geo interview to advocate for action on climate change, an issue he has tried to gain traction on, both domestically and internationally.
“One of the things that binds us together is we only have one planet and climate change is probably the biggest threat – not only to natural wonders like this—but to the well-being of billions of people, coastal cities, agricultural communities that can be displaced in the span of a few decades by changes in temperatures that mean more drought, more wildfires,” the President said. “Part of why it’s so important for us to raise awareness (about climate change) with the general public is: This is a solvable problem.”