Lots of people make New Year’s resolutions to do simple things to make their lives better: lose weight, exercise, stress less. Why not challenge your family to make a group New Year’s resolution to explore outdoors together? See how many parks you can visit in 2011—and on top of all the fun you’ll have together, you’ll actually get some exercise and relieve some stress without even trying!
All the best this holiday season!
Wishing you green parks and happy trails, Buddy Bison
PS Ask your parents to send me your photos as you visit the parks (BuddyBison@ParkTrust.org) and I’ll put them on my google map!
Stokes, Bullis and Washington Latin Students Serenade the Secretary of the Interior
Last week, students from Buddy Bison schools were the special guests at an event to honor Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar with NPT’s American Park Experience Award. Second through fifth grade students from Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School (Washington, DC), third graders from the Bullis School (Potomac, MD) and sixth grade students from Washington Latin Public Charter School (Washington, DC) made formal presentations about their outdoor adventures to environmentalists, Department of the Interior and National Park Service officials.
When Secretary Salazar was honored with his Award for all his work to conserve land and get kids involved with nature, these students gave him his real tribute—a song! Together students from these three Buddy Bison schools formed a choir, and under the direction of Stokes School’s Music teacher Ms. Cheryl Jones, they performed “Get Out to the Great Outdoors” for the first time anywhere! Check out this video to hear some of the song—the feature number in the new Buddy Bison musical, written by Rob Cohen!
Teacher Wins “The Buddy”—a National Award for Excellence in Environmental Stewardship
Third-grade students from Potomac, MD’s Bullis School love Mrs. Carolyn Cohen for the creative way she brings nature into the classroom and takes learning outdoors. Just last week, Mrs. Cohen received National Park Trust’s (NPT) first national teacher award for Excellence in Environmental Stewardship—an award that has already been dubbed simply The Buddy.
Mrs. Cohen received The Buddy at the same event where NPT honored Secretary Salazar with the American Park Experience Award. When she accepted her award, Mrs. Cohen said, “Bringing a new awareness and respect to the great outdoors to our students has been a rewarding experience for all, and I’m proud to be a part of that effort. I recognize there are many teachers who are equally dedicated to this goal and I happily share this award with them.”
Secretary Salazar later added that despite spending his days in Cabinet meetings and on the floor of Congress, “In my job, I always say the most inspiring thing I get to do is work with young people.” He then applauded Mrs. Cohen and all of the Buddy Bison students for caring so deeply about our parks and natural resources.
Let’s hear three cheers for Mrs. Cohen and all the teachers who work so hard to make exploring nature a priority!
The First Picture: A True Story by Emelia, Central Park School for Children, (Durham, NC) Fourth Grade
Wow, I thought as I ran up to the Occoneechee Mountain picnic area. This place is great! Three picnic tables were lined up, and the grass shimmered with dew. An open space with plenty of light looked great for playing. Large trees surrounded the open space and a huge forest in the back.
“Emelia, do you want to sit with me?” asked my friend Emma already at a picnic table.
“Sure Emma!” I said in a loud voice. All my other friends were there too: Lily, Lucy and Violet.
“Hey guys.” I said as I got to the table.
“Hey Emelia!” said Lily just as I sat down.
“I can’t wait to see what we’re doing next,” said Violet.
A ranger came to the area as we gathered around the picnic table. Everyone hushed as the ranger started to speak. “Hello everyone. I’m Ranger Christopher. We are going on a hike today, as you may know, but before we will talk about the rocks we have here at Occoneechee!”
A while later we went hiking. The trail was covered in leaves different colors: tan, red, yellow, and brown. The leaves crunched beneath me, as I stepped forward. We stopped a little to talk about rocks, trees, and other things. We made our way to the overlook. We got over to the overlook; birds flew, and a pit reached down in the rocks; trees were in their fancy autumn colors.
“Everyone over here for a Buddy Bison picture!” Aaron, our teacher called. “Ranger Christopher, you get in there too.” Now we have our first Buddy picture, of a beautiful place at a mountain called: Occoneechee!
Also read essays by Enoch and Emma on Buddy Bison’s Blog.
Beauvoir Students Make Fall a Time for Gardening by Teddy and Theo, Beauvoir National Cathedral Elementary School, First Grade
The (first-grade) Coyotes and Buddy Bison went to plant blueberry bushes. Buddy Bison did very well. He dug the holes with his hooves, but then he got stuck! Then we pulled him out. Buddy likes getting dirty. We planted the bushes in our Beauvoir garden, and we knocked out the weeds. We can't wait to see our blueberries grow, and to eat them next year! Read Beauvoir students’ other essays about visiting the National Cathedral and the Air and Space Museum!
Bullis School Bloggers Speak Out on Nature, Health and Outdoor Play
Bullis School’s third-grade students recently spent some time compiling a series of thoughtful essays about the benefits of outdoor play. Read Ephraim’s essay below, then click through Buddy Bison’s Blog to see all the entries!
Exercise and Learn about History by Ephraim, Bullis School Third Grade
Studies show kids who spend more time outside focus better than kids that don’t. There is also evidence those kids who get outside more often and burn calories by exercising are healthier and not likely to become obese. I think if you are healthy and better focused your success in school will increase. Also, kids should go outside to have fun and interact with others.
Parks and historical landmarks are fun places to go to enjoy the outdoors and learn new things. For example, the FDR Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, are two of my favorite landmarks to visit. I hope that you will make a point to get outside every day to exercise, enjoy nature and interact with others because it will improve your health all the way around...Read More
Young Adults Help Build a Nature Trail in California
For some people, their first job is delivering papers or raking leaves. For a team of conservationists in their late teens and early twenties, the California Conservation Corps is a first job that not only provides work experience, but a chance to serve in the environment. This year, National Park Trust’s Youth to Parks National Scholarship Program helped bring these young people out to Lassen Volcanic National Park’s Reach for the Peak Trail. The work wasn’t easy. They learned to cut stone, laid rock steps and cut drainage ditches for the trail—all important parts of preserving the environment while giving visitors a place to explore it. One Corpsmember named Jeremy had never before visited the park and says “climbing to the Peak and working with the Park Service was amazing.”
Buddy Bison (and friends) Return to Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
Tallgrass prairie once covered 140 million acres of North America and millions of bison roamed there. Now less than 4 percent of that land remains, and National Park Trust and Buddy Bison had a big part in preserving the land and historic buildings that now make up Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Kansas.
Recently, Buddy Bison, Secretary Salazar and many other Administration officials made the trip to Kansas for a groundbreaking ceremony for a new visitor’s center there—a place to welcome us all back to a stretch of land that preserves America’s history and natural ecosystem. Buddy Bison was glad to have the best seat in the house, on the podium! Buddy Bison was also excited to learn that 13 bison were returned to their native habitat about a year ago and just in time for Mother’s Day last spring, a baby bison was born!
Want to see your child's name in print? Encourage them to write for Buddy Bison's Buzz and Blog! Email submissions to Sarah@ParkTrust.org.
Looking for the perfect holiday gift or stocking stuffer? Purchase Buddy Bison and help send a kid to a park. Interested in NPT holiday gift memberships? Contact Shana Newman Fajardo – your gift will include Buddy Bison!
Field-Based Professional Development Opportunity: National Geographic Education Programs and Lindbald Expeditions announced their 2011 Grosvernor Teacher Fellowship Program, a fully-paid expedition aboard the National Geographic Explorer to Arctic Svalbard this summer for K-12 Teachers. Learn more!
Looking for something fresh for your spring performance? The Buddy Bison Musical will come hot off the presses in mid-January, just in time for your students to learn a few numbers about exploring our parks and being conservationists themselves. Contact Sarah@ParkTrust.org for more information.
Buddy Bison wants you to visit, explore and protect our nation’s parks. Bring him along as you roam and tell everyone Where Buddy Bison’s Been!