Happy New Year 2014! This is going to be the best year ever! There is so much to explore, so many parks to see, and people to meet. I am not going to wait until it warms up even though it’s cold enough to make a bison shiver. Read more about taking park adventures in winter. Bundle up, continue playing outside, and remember to have your parents send me your pictures and stories of your adventure.
“Explore outdoors, the parks are yours!”
President's Park: Home of the National Christmas Tree
Right before the holiday break, 80 preschool students from Sunshine Early Learning Center in Washington, D.C. explored President’s Park in front of the White House. We met with Park Ranger Monamma at the National Christmas Tree to learn about the park and tree. Did you know the National Christmas Tree is a living tree that they use every year?
We finished the day by meeting the man-in-red, Santa, at his workshop. I asked Santa if he could help me get more kids like you to our parks.
Exploring your neighborhood or backyard is the easiest way to get outdoors and that is exactly what I did with 5th graders from Beacon Heights Elementary School in Riverdale Park, MD last month. We hiked to their neighborhood park, Glenridge Recreation Center, where we identified trees, made seasonal observations, and cleaned up the park. We identified five different trees and collected over 16 bags of trash from the trails and grounds.
"When we all went to the park it was fun but there was a lot of trash so we had to clean. It was fun because we helped...It would be cool if we went back to the park every week so we could could keep it clean" - Michaca 5th grade
Have you been a good steward for your local park? Send me your photos and stories to email@example.com; you may be featured in next month’s newsletter!
Our thanks to PEPCO for their sponsorship of Beacon Heights!
School Contest is Open
In honor of Kids to Parks Day, I am once again hosting the Kids to Park Day (KTP) National School Contest to help teachers and students visit their local parks. This national contest is open to all schools in the United States (grades preK through 12). Students can submit proposals to fund a KTP event at a park or public land/waterway in their community. I will award park scholarships up to $1,000 to winning entries.
Gooseberry Falls State Park in Castle Danger, Minnesota
Bundle Up and Go
This time of year adults and kids alike stay indoors, away from the bitter cold. Getting outdoors in the winter can be a challenge: it’s cold, everything looks barren, and the alternative is so appealing: cozying up to a roaring fire with hot cocoa and marshmallows. However, there are many benefits of an invigorating winter hike!
Winter often brings out different animals and you have a clearer view of the landscape without the leaves on the trees. You’ll also be avoiding the crowds and bugs. Whether your favorite hike takes you into the mountains or around your neighborhood, embrace the winter months and get outdoors.
Next weekend go to your favorite summer hiking spot and see how it has changed. Remember to wear layers so that you can shed them as your muscles get warm. You don’t need a thick coat of fur like me, Buddy Bison, to have a good time. Make sure you are prepared for the elements before heading out by looking over this winter hiking guide by the Appalachian Mountain Club.