Park Projects Director
Dick Ring is NPT's Park Projects Director. In this position, he works with NPT partners, supporters, and park agency representatives to identify and accomplish park protection and mitigation projects across the country.
Dick comes to NPT after a 35 year career with the National Park Service. He has served in numerous positions including; 19 years as park superintendent at Gates of the Arctic National Park, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, and Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks. Dick also served four years in Washington as an Associate Director of NPS. Since his retirement from NPS, Dick has worked with the Abess Center for Ecosystem Science & Policy at the University of Miami, served on the Board of the Florida National Parks Association and has done consulting work in management and ecosystem policy. He is also a member of IUCN’s Commission on Ecosystem Management and its World Council on Protected Areas.
Billy Schrack is NPT's education director and he brings a range of experience as a former educator in the NYC public school system where he learned about the challenges and rewards of working in underserved communities. Billy is working with our Buddy Bison schools and coordinating National Kids to Parks Day. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education with a concentration in middle school science from the University of Delaware and a Master’s of Science degree from the University of Long Island, where he studied earth science. He lives in Rockville, MD with his new wife Christina. An avid fisherman, Billy enjoys exploring our nation’s waterways. He also coaches youth lacrosse.
Shana joined National Park Trust in September 2009 as the organization’s first Development Director. She has an extensive background in strategic planning, nonprofit development and a passion for community service and the outdoors. In this capacity, she is responsible for directing and implementing the organization’s annual fundraising campaigns. Working with the Board of Trustees and Executive Director, Shana has secured nearly $2 million to support NPT’s growing environmental education and park preservation initiatives. As Development Director, she has also helped the organization build strategic alliances with both corporate and federal partners.
Prior to joining NPT, Shana served as the interim Development Director and Corporate& Foundation Relations Manager at Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery, MD. In her role, Shana helped to grow the organization’s capacity by securing federal and state grant funding as well as managed a robust corporate volunteer program. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations and minor in Spanish at The Florida State University. As a native Floridian, Shana has a passion for the protection of our country’s coastal areas and enjoys exploring them with her husband and young son.
Grace has a life-long passion for America’s parks and the outdoors. As a young girl, Grace and her family spent summers camping and hiking at national parks across the country and has continued this tradition with her own family.
Since 2006, she has overseen the significant expansion of National Park Trust's mission and park preservation and youth programs, including the creation of NPT's innovative environmental education program, Where's Buddy Bison Been?, which currently engages more than 40 schools (10,000 kids annually) across the country with their local, state and national parks, and National Kids to Parks Day, a grassroots day of play in collaboration with more than 360 parks, 300 mayors, governors and senators representing all 50 states and 140,000 participants annually.
In addition, she has overseen the strengthening and diversification of the National Park Trust Board, the rebuilding of NPT’s staff and operations, the development of foundation/corporate partners and collaborators, and the redesign of its websites and communications and branding strategy. She is also responsible for the enhancement and the development of key partnerships and collaborations with government, conservation, education and health organizations, including the Department of the Interior, First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Outside! initiative, National Park Service, American Academy of Pediatrics, NFL Players Association, US Army Corps of Engineers, Children and Nature Network, and numerous independent, public charter, and public schools across the country.
Grace holds an AB degree in chemistry (biologic specialization) from Duke University, worked as an analytical chemist at the National Institutes of Health, and then as an editor for Analytical Chemistry published by the American Chemical Society. For ten years, Grace served on the board of the Bullis School, an independent school in Potomac, Maryland, as vice chair and played a leadership role in the school’s strategic plan and development initiatives including two capital campaigns and the annual fund.
Secretary Ken Salazar Celebrated for Expanding the American Park Experience (2010)
“In my job, I always say the most inspiring thing I get to do is work with young people,” remarked Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar at an event in his honor at DAR’s O’Byrne Gallery where he was celebrated by federal officials, corporate stakeholders, environmentalists and school administrators.
The Secretary was there to accept NPT’s second American Park Experience Award – a tribute reserved for those who have made outstanding contributions to enhance the awareness and appreciation of our nation’s parks, wildlife refuges, and historic landmarks (the first co-recipients were Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan). The Secretary was tapped for the award because of his lengthy history of land preservation, in creating Sand Dunes National Park and conserving the South Platte River Basin, pursuing full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, along with spearheading the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative and Listening Sessions, and creating the Office of Youth in the Great Outdoors. But through his remarks, Secretary Salazar focused on the urgency of making the parks a vital fixture in the lives of the next generation.
Standing alongside Secretary Salazar at the podium were children who participate in NPT’s Buddy Bison school program from Washington Latin and Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter Schools and the Bullis School. These students spent a few minutes prior to the ceremony sharing with the Secretary the many ways the Buddy Bison program has expanded their knowledge of public lands and inspired a thirst for conservation. As part of the Secretary’s award presentation, they then joined together in an inaugural performance of “Get Out to the Great Outdoors,” the title tune from the new Buddy Bison musical! The children’s words echoed the Secretary’s call to connect youth with our public lands.
NPT’s Board of Directors unanimously selected the Secretary to receive the Award for his work spearheading the America’s Great Outdoors initiative, which will help reshape the nation’s conservation policies and for his work to create Youth in Natural Resources Programs. NPT also applauds his initiatives at the Department of Interior to build a 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps to engage, educate and employ young people from all backgrounds to explore, connect with and preserve our country’s unique natural and cultural heritage.
NPT also praised his lifetime commitment to protect the nation’s public lands. This is exemplified by his past support for the creation of Great Sand Dunes National Park, by his work in the South Platte River Basin, and by his current work at the Department of the Interior to achieve full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and to expand protection of our treasured landscapes.
“The Secretary’s passion to engage youth with the outdoors and in conservation, especially those who are underserved, is an inspiration for our Youth to Parks programs and for the many students, teachers, and families who participate in the Trust’s youth programs, including our Where’s Buddy Bison Been?® Program,” says William Brownell, NPT Chairman of the Board.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN PARK EXPERIENCE AWARD
The American Park Experience Award was established in 2009 to recognize an individual or group that has made outstanding contributions to enhance the awareness and appreciation of our nation’s parks, wildlife refuges, and historic landmarks. Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan were the first co-recipients of this award. The Secretary accepted the Award at a reception in Washington, D.C. in the winter of 2010.