2014 Vento Award Honoring Wyden Results in New Buddy Bison Schools

As many of you may already know, on June 11th NPT honored Senator Ron Wyden (OR) with the 2014 Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award for his decades of leadership to protect and preserve our parks and public lands. Senator Wyden is the chair of the Senate Finance Committee and former chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Thanks to the generosity of two of our Vento Award event sponsors, Prudential and Emerson Electric, NPT is proud to announce the addition of two new Buddy Bison Schools in Portland and Fossil, Oregon.

Senator Wyden stated, “When a person is young, a positive experience with Oregon’s outdoor treasures or learning about the natural environment can resonate through her or his whole life. The National Park Trust's Buddy Bison program will enable Oregon students to experience our state’s wonders first-hand, and provide valuable STEM education at the same time.”

Portland's Buddy Bison School

Through the generosity of our new corporate partner, Prudential, the Buddy Bison program will be coming to the Boise-Eliot/Humboldt School (BEH), the product of the merger of three separate schools in inner-city Portland. BEH has historically suffered from lack of resources and the Buddy Bison program will help to provide quality STEM experiences specifically for their unit on earth systems and matter and energy. Currently 83% of their students qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch. Prudential’s support of this under-served school will make it possible for BEH teachers to fulfill their curriculum goals by implementing the Buddy Bison environmental education program and learning about NPT's park and public lands initiatives.

"Prudential is delighted to provide support for National Park Trust and Portland's Boise-Eliot/Humboldt school to enhance their 5th-grade science curriculum," stated Steve Pelletier, Prudential Executive Vice President and head of US businesses."Parks are wonderful places for hands-on learning."

NPT will kick-off this new partnership with a trip this fall to Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. 

Fossil's Buddy Bison School

Fossil Charter School in the town of Fossil, Oregon boasts a population of 470 and a school roster from kindergarten through 12th grade of about 80 students. As you can imagine, funding for extracurricular activities, education and field trips are extremely limited in this under-resourced community. Senator Wyden held his first and 700th town hall meeting here, a testament to the fact that that this little rural town in the high desert is just as important as the biggest city. Now that Emerson Electric has stepped up to the plate to provide Vento Award event sponsorship funding to bring the Buddy Bison Program to Fossil, the landscape there will be changed literally and figuratively.

The students at Fossil Charter School have a lofty goal -- to take a field trip to Crater Lake. However, because this destination is over 4 ½ hours away by vehicle, it will require an overnight stay, the cost of which would be well out of their reach. According to Patrick Sly, Emerson Executive Vice President, “We are delighted to support National Park Trust to honor Senator Ron Wyden and to provide the important resources that will allow the students from Fossil Charter School to participate in the Buddy Bison school program this upcoming school year."

Please watch future newsletters for pictures and stories about their educational park adventures!

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