NPT News September 2010

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NPT News on the American Park Experience

Mission: To champion the acquisition and preservation of America's critical parklands
through education, partnerships, and community building.

Dear: Visitor

For nearly a century, the National Park Service has been dedicated to preserving the natural beauty of the United States. August marked NPS’s 94th Anniversary, and as hot summer days wind into a crisp autumn, use this season to start your own annual tradition. Plan the first of many annual family camping trips, or if your outdoor adventures are firmly established, take a moment on the trail to reflect upon how your steps are just a few in a long history.

NPT Invited to Inaugural Meeting of Senate’s Outdoor Recreation Caucus

In August, Senators Mark Udall (CO) and James Risch (ID) launched the Outdoor Recreation Caucus by way of a briefing on Capitol Hill which included Administration officials: Harris Sherman, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, Department of Agriculture, Will Shafroth, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Fish and Wildlife and Parks, Department of the Interior, Amy Salzman, Associate Director for Policy Outreach, Council on Environmental Quality, and Dan Kanninen, White House Liaison, Environmental Protection Agency.

Members of the Obama Administration offered details on the president’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative—an effort to promote and support innovative community-level conservation and encourage active, outdoor lifestyles. NPT’s executive director Grace Lee and education and communications director Sarah Stankorb were in attendance. Grace noted, “It was wonderful to see Administration staff and a bipartisan senate panel giving such serious consideration to increasing Americans’ connection to the great outdoors.”

In July, Senator Mark Udall was awarded with NPT’s 2010 Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award.


You're Invited: NPT Works to Restore Washington Family Home

On September 18, from 3-5 PM, National Park Trust is co-sponsoring a reception at the Claymont Court Mansion in Jefferson County, West Virginia. The Claymont Mansion was selected to receive the nation’s premiere Save America’s Treasures (SAT) grant. Funds raised at the event will be used to match the SAT federal grant and help restore one of George Washington’s family treasures. Come join us for a tour of this gracious 16,000 square foot home, and enjoy refreshments, music and Washington-era reenactors. You can also spend the day and explore Jefferson County’s Family History. View the invitation and RSVP to Shana Newman Fajardo at 301-279-7275 or

National Park Trust and Harrah's Entertainment Launch a Winning Partnership

harrahsHarrah’s Entertainment, the world’s largest provider of branded casino entertainment (including World Series of Poker and Caesar’s Palace), is also known for its commitment to environmental sustainability and community engagement. Harrah’s was the first casino company to partner with the EPA’s Climate Leaders and since 2003 has worked to reduce energy use—cutting 163 kilowatt hours per year. For the 2010-2011 school year, Harrah’s Entertainment is partnering with NPT to bring the Where’s Buddy Bison Been?® program to several schools in Nevada. Through this generous opportunity provided by Harrah’s, NPT will bring our innovative environmental education program to students in Nevada schools and towns that have been hard hit by the economy.

"We are very pleased to be able to support National Park Trust in their efforts to connect children to America's parks and public lands. And we look forward to helping NPT bring their innovative Buddy Bison program to teachers and students in Nevada this fall. The Harrah's Foundation is deeply committed to working with organizations like NPT that help address the unmet needs in the communities where we live and work and through this partnership, hundreds of young people will now have the opportunity to have a life changing experience in the outdoors. We are very excited to be part of this national movement to create the next generation of environmental stewards and look forward to our continued involvement in the program," said Thom Reilly, executive director of the Harrah’s Foundation. Learn more about Harrah’s HERO’s program and the company’s commitment to reinvesting time and money into its community. Thank you, Harrah’s!

Tortoises Through the Lens Shows Rebirth Through the Eyes of Students

Tortoises Through the LensNational Park Trust was proud to fund and support National Park Conservation Association’s (NPCA) community-based conservation action project, Tortoises Through the Lens.

The program embraces a simple idea for bridging science and art to protect a species under siege: use digital cameras to document the life and times of California desert tortoises in their natural habitats. Under the auspices of the Tortoises Through the Lens program and with NPT’s Buddy Bison on hand, students developed a personal and profound relationship with the Mojave landscape and the creatures that inhabit it.

Throughout the spring of 2009, thirteen students participated as photojournalists on field trips supported by NPT, to explore the wild landscape of the Mojave. Behind the lens, are stories of young people, like Dakota Sprout, who discovered a passion for the environment and developed a commitment to the tortoises’ survival. As Dakota wrote, “Tortoises Through the Lens really inspired me to learn more about the desert. The field trips we took made me think of the desert differently; it used to be boring to me and now I see life everywhere. I can’t wait to go back and continue my work with the desert tortoises.”

Explore Your Parks with NPT!

The North Face, American Hiking Society, and National Park Trust invite those in the Washington, D.C. area to join us for a weekend of exploration. Through its new Explore Your Parks initiative, the North Face has announced that it is hosting two hikes the weekend of September 18th. Park rangers will help lead hikes and families will find fun activities for kids to do along the way. Buddy Bison will help celebrate as we explore our Maryland and Virginia state parks. These days of outdoor fun are designed in support of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Outside campaign.

Join Us!

Saturday September 18th
8:30 AM – 1PM
Seneca Creek State Park
Gaithersburg, Maryland


Sunday, September 19th
1 PM – 4 PM
Mason Neck State Park
Lorton, Virginia

Click the RSVP link at Explore Your Parks for free admission.

Buddy Bison's Strollin' with Jeff Wolin, Tuning Up with the Beach Boys and Chris Botti

Buddy Bison Ambassador Jeff Wolin strummed his guitar and led youth from the Where’s Buddy Bison Been?® program in a round of Bison-rific tunes on the National Mall for last year’s Fortieth Anniversary Earth Day event. There, the naturalist and educator began a friendship with Buddy Bison, and today NPT is proud to announce Jeff has become an official Buddy Bison Ambassador. Jeff says, "I am honored to be one of Buddy Bison's Ambassadors. There's nothing I like better than to explore nature and parks with my family and then write a fun song about it." National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis highlights Jeff's talent: "Jeff’s music makes learning fun. His lyrics are really catchy but also convey important messages about the parks."  Sing along with Jeff’s rendition of "Humps, Hooves, and Horns" on Buddy Bison’s website.


Buddy Bison also found time this month to stomp along to some Good Vibrations with surf pop legends The Beach Boys, who charted 36 Top 40 hits in their long careers creating feel-good summery tunes.  Buddy Bison also tested his embrasure with trumpeter Chris Botti, America’s #1 jazz trumpeter who has played with artists ranging from Frank Sinatra, Sting, Joshua Bell and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler. We welcome our new Buddy Bison Ambassadors and thank them for reminding us that nature can inspire some of the sweetest music humans (and bison) can make.

NPT Joins Children & Nature Network for Grassroots Gathering

NPT was pleased to sponsor the "Grassroots Gathering," at which 100 leaders from organizations spanning the U.S. and Canada came together in Princeton, NJ from August 11-13 to collaborate on ways to expand the movement to connect kids with the outdoors. Members of Children & Nature Network’s Natural Leaders Network, Natural Families Network, and Natural Teachers Network shared accomplishments from the past year, and together all the attendees shared their own grassroots efforts to engage children with the great outdoors. According to Grace Lee, NPT executive director, "the Gathering was the perfect forum to network, exchange ideas and build partnerships." Grace shared details of the Buddy Bison program and members of the Natural Leaders Network took him on an outing through the Santa Monica Mountains after the conference (photo right). Pictured at left is Richard Louv, co-founder of the Children & Nature Network and author of the seminal book, Last Child in the Woods, taking Buddy Bison out for a walk during the conference to see New Jersey's green spaces. 


NPT Supports Michelle Obama's Call for Healthy Food

First Lady Michelle Obama has long been a champion for kids’ health and through her Let’s Move campaign, the first lady aims to achieve this important goal: solve the childhood obesity epidemic in a generation, so that kids born today can reach adulthood at a healthy weight. NPT supports Michelle Obama’s endorsement of the Child Nutrition Bill, which passed the Senate in August and now is up for vote in the House.

Looking for ways to integrate healthy habits into your family’s lifestyle? Try mixing up Buddy Bison’s All American Park Trail Mix as a family, then take it along on a nature hike as a fortifying (and delicious) snack.


Looking for a Few Good Rangers

There is some good news for those seeking jobs that preserve the environment and have great benefits: like looking out over a mountain vista or 'living' history as an interpreter. As the Washington Post explained, large numbers of Park Rangers are due to retire in coming years and the National Park Service is looking to recruit diverse young people to fill the ranks. Rangers can serve in many roles, including: interpreters, conservationists, or park police. Initiatives like Temple University's ProRanger program connect college students with an interest in law enforcement with large national parks and historic sites where they can intern and get on-the-job experience. Through ProRanger, students complete two internships spread over their college years, then attend a 10- to 12-week federal law enforcement training and are commissioned into law enforcement roles through the National Park Service. Learn about other opportunities for youth at

National Park Trust / 401 E. Jefferson Street, Suite 102 / Rockville, MD 20850 / Email: /