$100,000 Gift from Diana Davis Spencer Sends Hundreds of Youth Camping For First Time

National Park Trust (NPT) is excited for the opportunity to provide transformational camping experiences to hundreds of under-served urban youth thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation. This gift will support 300 students and teachers with 3-day overnight camping trips in national parks. These immersive experiences will elevate the environmental education programs the students participate in through the Buddy Bison School Program.

The gift from Diana Davis Spencer Foundation is the second received by NPT, and has allowed the organization, a national non-profit, to provide robust outdoor education opportunities to nearly 1,000 students over the course of two years. The programming aligns with their Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards curriculums and gives real-life application to the topics they are studying.

“This experience was life changing for not only my scholars but myself, other staff members and our school,” said Jennifer Beckwith, 7th and 8th grade science teacher at Friendship Public Charter School of her 2017 camping trip funded by Diana Davis Spencer Foundation. “The authentic excitement the students exerted every time they saw something they learned in class was everlasting! From learning about amphibians, to ecosystems, to hiking, to camp fires, to team building games, [National Park Trust] offered an inquiry based, exploratory learning module that grasped students attention immediately.”

Students from Elsie Whitlow Stokes on their 2017 camping trip to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

“National parks and experiences are beneficial to students because they teach us things we cannot learn in environments near our homes.” DaPria Fell, a student from Friendship Charter describing her trip in 2017.

National Park Trust provides environmental education to elementary and middle schools in under-served communities. In 2018, NPT’s youth programs supported over 16,000 students from 225 Title I schools in 38 states and Washington, D.C. with 350+ trips to local, state, national parks,  public lands, and public waters.



National Park Trust’s mission is preserving parks today; creating park stewards for tomorrow. In the 35 years since NPT was established, the non-profit organization has completed more than 60 land acquisition, restoration, and mitigation projects in 30 states, 1 U.S. Territory and Washington, D.C. including 49 National Park Service projects. In 2009, NPT launched its nationally recognized Buddy Bison Programs which currently supports more than 200 Title I schools across the country. Since 2011, NPT has organized Kids to Parks Day, an annual national celebration of America’s parks hosted on the third Saturday in May. More details about NPT can be found at www.parktrust.org.



The Diana Davis Spencer Foundation espouses the values upon which our nation was founded: freedom and individual responsibility. The mission of the foundation is to promote national security, entrepreneurship, self-reliance, free enterprise, and to enhance quality of life by supporting the arts, education, global understanding, health advancements, and preservation of the environment. Find out more at: www.ddsfoundation.org.