I hope you are having a great holiday season so far. Each day, it is getting colder outside and many of you in the northern states have already seen some snowfall! This is a time of great excitement because so many of us celebrate the holidays by taking part in age old traditions such as the lighting and decoration of a Christmas tree.
Did you know that one of the most famous Christmas trees in the world is lit every year in one of our national parks? Yes, it’s true! The National Christmas Tree is located right outside the White House. The tree has been lit by the president every year since Calvin Coolidge did it in 1923. The tree is located in President’s Park, which is a part of the national park system.
December is a great time to visit a park near you. I hope that you get outdoors and discover a few Christmas trees of your own!
Buddy Bison's Adventurer of the Month – Serenity from Illinois
Serenity at Lincoln Home National Historic Site.
Our very first Adventurer of the Month is Serenity from Pittsfield, Illinois. I am giving this award to Serenity because her spirit of adventure and exploration led her to the Lincoln Home National Historic Site where she learned about the life of one of our nation’s most important historical figures: Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president.
Here is what Serenity had to say about her adventure: “My family and I recently visited the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, IL where we toured the Lincoln home and neighborhood. When we first arrived at the visitor center, we purchased Buddy Bison from the gift shop, so he was able to tour the Lincoln home with us. I also received my Lincoln Home Jr. Ranger badge and certificate during our trip!”
Congratulations Serenity! You are a great adventurer, and I look forward to joining you on many trips to national, state, and local parks in the future!
Chester Students Show their Artistic Skills
The title page of "Buddy Bison Goes to the Park", illustrated by students from Chester Community Charter School (Chester, PA).
Mrs. Stephens’ fifth grade class from Chester Community Charter School in Chester, PA recently illustrated the book “Buddy Bison Goes to the Park” written by Rob Cohen. After these students took a trip to Valley Forge National Historical Park in October, they wanted to continue to learn about national parks and the history of bison in our country. To extend their learning experience from the park to the classroom, they used their artistic skills to illustrate the pages of the book. I enjoyed reading it! What wonderful illustrations!
The students from Chester are also hard at work learning the Buddy Bison musical which they will debut in early 2012. If you would like to learn more about these resources and the features of the Buddy Bison program, contact Billy Schrack -- email@example.com.
Washington Jesuit Academy and a Horse Named Steely Dan
Students from Washington Jesuit Academy with Buddy Bison Ambassador Mariea Clowers and her horse Steely Dan.
Officer Mariea Clowers – a Buddy Bison Ambassador – rode into Washington Jesuit Academy on her horse Steely Dan to give the students a presentation about her role with the National Park Service. Officer Clowers and Steely Dan work together to protect citizens in Washington D.C. when they gather for parades, political rallies, and demonstrations. The students were impressed by Steely Dan’s crowd control maneuvers and Officer Clowers’ equipment (which they got to try on).
Most importantly, Officer Clowers discussed the importance of making good decisions and told the students of WJA that if they continued to work hard and be dedicated park stewards, they will one day become leaders in their community.
St. Andrews Sings with Buddy Bison
Buddy Bison was happy to sing with St. Andrews Episcopal School.
The Lower School of St. Andrews Episcopal in Potomac, MD welcomed me at their assembly in October and I happily joined in the community sing!
Right now, I am working with St. Andrew's Lower School and their teacher Laura Hoffman to encourage students to appreciate our national parks, protect the environment and live a healthy lifestyle. Each classroom has a small, soft Buddy Bison in their room and some of the classes will begin bringing me home with my backpack and journal for weekend visits.
The Deerfield Trail Blazers
Fifth graders from Deerfield Elementary (Laurel, MD) hiking on their newly built trail.
Last year, teacher Seth Tucker and the students at Deerfield Run Elementary School in Laurel, MD blazed a nature trail in the woods behind their school! The students built the ¼ mile trail in the woods by raking leaves, clearing roots, cutting branches, and pulling weeds. Recently, I visited Deerfield, where a new group – The Green Leaders – is making a trail guide to educate others about the trails ecosystem. They are also sending letters to other Buddy Bison schools telling them about their experiences and encouraging them to build their own trails.
The Deerfield students said: “We built a trail because we want other kids at our school to learn about nature. Also we wanted to learn more about nature and conservation ourselves. We hope to leave a legacy at our school.”
I had a wonderful time exploring this trail! Great job Deerfield!
Spending the Day with the Kindergarten Flamingos from Beauvoir
Buddy and a friend from Beauvoir collecting sticks and leaves.
This month, kindergarten students from Beauvoir, National Cathedral Elementary School in Washington D.C. brought me along on their field trip to Living Classrooms at Glen Echo. Afterwards they wrote a summary of our day! Here is what the Kindergarten Flamingos had to say:
"We learned all about animal architects, the animals that design and build their own homes. Buddy met a painted turtle, who digs a home with her sharp claws, and also a rose-haired tarantula who lives in a burrow but spins a special web."
"Then we took Buddy on a hike through the woods where we looked for animal homes. When we looked up, we saw several dreys (that’s a home for a squirrel made of leaves). We collected sticks, leaves, and other natural materials to create our own animal homes. Buddy loved visiting the homes we created. He thought they would keep him warm and dry!"
PARENT / TEACHER CORNER
Save the Date
The 2nd Annual National Kids to Parks Day is May 19, 2012!
There is no better stocking stuffer than Buddy Bison! Give your child or student the gift of a friend to take with them on their park experience. Click here to get Buddy today!
There are plenty of wonderful complements to Buddy Bison that will keep your child or student connected to their outdoor experiences and seeking new adventures. Check out the Buddy Bison coloring sheet, which kids can fill in and collect for each of their park visits. We also have Buddy Bison T-shirts, lanyards, and other accessories available for purchase online.
National Park Trust’s 2012 Calendar is available for the new year! It is a great gift for children and adults alike, featuring beautiful pictures from parks across the country as well as our Buddy Bison photos from kids.
All proceeds for sales of Buddy Bison, calendars, and T-shirts benefit our Youth to Parks National Scholarship Fund for underserved kids.
Buddy Bison Teacher Carolyn Cohen Featured in Bethesda Magazine
Carolyn Cohen, a third grade teacher at Bullis School and the recipient of the first NPT National Teacher Award (“The Buddy”) and her Buddy Bison student Mark were recently recognized in Bethesda Magazine for their work taking on important environmental issues. We applaud Carolyn for her initiatives to bring conservation into the classroom.
Who is the Next Adventurer of the Month?
This month we recognize Serenity from Illinois as Buddy Bison’s Adventurer of the Month. Every month, right here in Buddy Bison’s Buzz, we will announce the winner of this award. It will be given to a child or student who has recently demonstrated an aptitude for adventure, exploration, and environmental stewardship at one of our parks. They will be featured in an article in Buddy Bison’s Buzz and receive a Buddy Bison T-shirt and official Certificate from NPT.
You can nominate your own child or student to be Adventurer of the Month. Have them write a short description of their park experience and be sure to include pictures. Please send submissions to Adam Wieczorek -- firstname.lastname@example.org. By submitting pictures you are giving us permission to use them in our online publications and in social media.
The $10,000 Sustainable Energy Award
Click here to learn about the Sustainable Energy Award - presented to the top three high schools that can demonstrate how they have engaged students and teachers in school-wide energy savings through the creative and innovative use of technology.