• Our mission is to preserve parks and create park stewards for tomorrow. Since 1983, we have completed more than 100 park projects benefiting 49 national park units and other public lands in 33 states. Furthermore, to foster future park enthusiasts and stewards, we launched in 2009 our Buddy Bison school program and in 2011 Kids to Parks Day, our nationwide day of play. Watch this video to learn more about our work and the impact of your support.

    Mapping our progress

    2013 ANNUAL REPORT

  • Since 1983, NPT has supported and assisted in acquiring inholdings and in developing public and private partnerships to promote the acquisition and preservation of parks, wildlife refuges, historic landmarks, public lands, and water ways. We have completed more than 100 park projects benefiting 49 national park units and other public lands in 33 states. To learn more about about our work and how you can get involved, contact Dick Ring, NPT Park Projects Director.  

  • Buddy Bison School Program: Because Kids Need Parks and Parks Need Kids

    The Buddy Bison school program was created in 2009 to engage diverse children from Title I schools with their local, state and national parks to teach environmental education and the numerous benefits of outdoor recreation. If parks are to survive, the face of those parks must change and under-served communities must have access to these local cultural and environmental resources.   More than 80% of the students in the Buddy Bison school program qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch, predominantly in inner city communities.  This program has been used in 60 schools across the country in grades pre-K through 8th in public, public charter and private schools across the country (20 states and Washington D.C.).  

    This experiential learning program enhances existing school curricula throughout the year with emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) as well as history, language arts, reading, geography, the arts, and outdoor recreation. Students also learn about the careers of professionals who support our parks-- and the importance of stewarding our public lands. And in addition to bringing kids to parks, we bring parks to kids by arranging schools visits from our many conservation partners.

    To learn more about how you can get involved, contact Billy Schrack, NPT Education Director.




Burns Expresses Commitment to Connecting Americans to Our Nation's Parks

kburns receives award cropAcclaimed director, Ken Burns, became the co-recipient of the National Park Trust's first ‘American Park Experience' Award for his work on the new documentary series: The National Parks, America's Best Idea. The Award was presented at an intimate setting hosted by NPT Board Chair, F. William Brownell on March 4, 2009 in Washington D.C. The film's writer and co-producer, Dayton Duncan, also received the award at an event hosted by NPT on February 4, 2009, where an exclusive preview of the film was aired.

In accepting the award Burns said that, "our film celebrates the beauty of these parks and the vision and foresight of the men and women who made sure that this land would be preserved." The six-part documentary will be aired this September and traces the birth of the national park idea in the mid-1800s and follows its evolution for nearly 150 years. Over six years in the making, Burns says, "the heart and soul of the film is not just a history of the parks but about our emotional connection to them."

NPT Board Chair says, "I believe that Ken Burns' work will touch and inspire many millions of viewers about the importance not only of preserving and protecting our National Parks, but also the need for our generation and successive generations to witness and learn first-hand about these natural treasures."

With more than 40 million people expected to see the film, Burns stated that through educational outreach, he is committed to reaching diverse populations who may not have an historical connection to the parks. Burns believes that the film will encourage people to visit the parks, and he wants to ensure that all Americans understand that "we together own some of the most spectacular real estate in the world."

NPT is also committed to connecting children and their families with the parks. As part of that commitment, NPT launched a program called ‘Where's your Buddy Bison been?'. It is a national public service initiative which encourages children to go to the parks with their Buddy - NPT's stuffed animal mascot - and send NPT stories and photos of their experiences. NPT board member, Diana Leon Taylor, gave Burns his own Buddy Bison at the event. Burns plans to take Buddy to his 4-year-old daughter, who has already visited at least six national parks.

NPT created the American Park Experience Award 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/or historic landmarks. NPT is honored to present the first award to both Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan.

Ken Burns is known for his filmmaking style of using archival footage and photographs. Among his most notable productions are The Civil War, Baseball and Jazz. Burns' documentaries have been nominated for two Academy Awards and have won seven Emmy Awards.

The National Park Trust is a nonprofit organization, and the nation's only organization dedicated to the completion, and the full appreciation, of the American system of National and State Parks through the identification of key land acquisition needs and opportunities, the convening of potential funders to acquire these lands, as well as increasing efforts to ensure that future generations appreciate and experience this national heritage.