With nearly 450,000 participates, I would say Kids to Parks Day 2014 was a huge success! Click here to see some wonderful memories that were created on May 17th. I think I even see some future park stewards in these photos, don't you? Check out below some of the activities that took place across the country and remember, your outdoor adventures don’t end with Kids to Parks Day. This weekend is the Great American Backyard Campout and July is Park and Recreation Month! Let's keep the fun going!
Breaking Records on May 17th – Kids to Parks Day!
When more than 1,010,000 people are talking about Kids to Parks Day online, you know it’s a big deal. The stories from kids across the country are terrific. To the left is a quick snap shot of this nationwide day of play. Thank you for your participation and support! We look forward to celebrating Kids to Parks Day 2015 on May 16th.
The fun does not stop with Kids to Parks Day. I want to explore parks with you all year long. You can get your own Buddy Bison here and we can start our adventures together. Tag National Park Trust to your photos on Twitter, FaceBook or Instagram (@nationalparktrust) and use #buddybison.
KTPD School Contest Creates Treasured Memories
Our Kids to Parks Day National School Contest provided 47 park scholarships to schools that needed a little help getting to the park. Congratulations to our winners! More than 3200 students (preK -12th grade) had a magical time at their local parks. We know that just one cool park experience is all that is needed to create a passion for the outdoors.
Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park - KY
“We had a fun, eventful day. My classmates and I learned the importance of keeping our parks clean so everybody can enjoy the beauty of nature.” – student from Buckhorn Elementary School
Mammoth Cave National Park- KY
“Being a kid at heart, I had a great time too. I even had two students talk to me about their future careers being in this particular field. Wow what an impact!” – Dorothy Smith, guidance counselor, Cumberland County Middle School
Yellowstone National Park - WY
“It is important to protect Yellowstone’s bison because they are the last wild bison herd.” – Keisha ,7th grade, De La Salle Blackfeet School
Wehr Nature Center - WI
“My favorite part was learning about animals and habitats. We saw dinosaur plants that can be cut and put back together.” – Jay and Diana, 2nd grade, Edgewood Elementary School
Lime Kiln Point State Park - WA
“Winning the grant was more than just a financial boost for these students. It let them know the value of trying and having the decision go their way. The field trip itself expanded the world of so many of them, taught them a few things, and gave them some wonderful memories. It has been a very meaningful journey! – Krista Gordon, 4th-grade teacher, Alderwood Elementary
Hot Springs National Park - AR
“I liked the field trip because it was the first field trip we had this year. The best part is we got to go outside and look at cool plants. I also wish we would’ve stayed longer and played. I want to go again and again…” – Marisol, 3rd grade, William Jefferson Clinton Primary
Photo courtesy of Chris Rief Photography
The Kids Steal the Show
Do you see me front and center on the podium? On June 11 at the Newseum in Washington DC, the Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award and me Buddy Bison (!) were presented to Senator Ron Wyden (OR).
Two 4th-grade students, Natasha and Wendi from Lynbrook Elementary School (Springfield, VA) congratulated Senator Wyden who was recognized for his decades of work preserving our natural resources including our parks. They also talked about their experiences this year in the Buddy Bison school program. They spoke with the grace and poise of someone much older! That's Natasha in the photo above. And below is their photo with Senator Wyden. He was so pleased and surprised to receive his own Buddy Bison and Buddy Bison T-shirt.
Thanks to Dominion Power their school sponsor, the Lynbrook students went to the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia and Potomac Overlook Park in Arlington, VA. They also were visited by the birds of prey from the Earth Conservation Corps. Here is what Natasha said:
“After learning all about the environment, I realize how important it is to protect it. I know that each person can make a difference. I would like to make a difference by starting clubs to help raise money and awareness of how to keep our waters and parks clean and safe for everyone to use. I know that with the knowledge I have gained from the National Park Trust and what I have learned in school that this will become a reality.”
"The Buddy" for Excellence in Environmental Education
You have heard about the Oscars, the Emmys and the Grammys – but what about the “The Buddy”? I love to honor one of our excellent teachers for their dedication, creativity, and hard work to connect their students with our parks and public lands. This year "The Buddy" National Teacher Award for Excellence in Environmental Education was awarded to Pam Alexandroff, a fifth-grade teacher from Jose de Diego Community Academy in Chicago, IL. Pam has explored the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (IN) and Hal Tyrell Trailside Museum (IL) with her students, exposing them to an entirely different world near their community. She has worked to bring parks into her classroom through naturalist and ranger visits and also through her daily lesson plans. In the photo above, Pam (center) is pictured with Dick Ring, NPT's park projects director and Alice Vera, the school principal.
Our "hooves off" to Pam! And a HUGE Buddy Bison thanks to Katten Muchin Rosenman, LLP who generously sponsor Jose de Diego Community Academy each year. They also provided the wonderful resources so Pam and her daughter Alexandra could travel from Chicago to DC and be recognized by Senator Ron Wyden (OR) and all of our guests at the Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award event on June 11. Hear her comments from that evening.
Get Outdoors with these Ten Free Apps
Need another reason to get outside? Then check out these ten free outdoor activity apps from National Environmental Education Foundation’s (NEEF) Health and Environment Program. Children and their families can use the apps to explore nature, get healthier and become more acquainted with local park and recreation areas. The list is available from NEEF’s website, along with several other outdoor tools and resources. Don't forget to tell me about your new adventures! Email them to Buddy@buddybison.org or use the #buddybison on Facebook or Twitter.