Author Archive

Tips for Road Trips

Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Bryan created a handy list of “Tips for Road Trips” to help you plan your next park adventure. 


I have been on some of the most epic road trips covering our national park sites. I have traveled all the way up the East coast, Midwest, and even to Canada to name a few. Here are some tips to make your road trips successful!

So go explore outdoors, the parks are yours and find your park today!

Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Bryan”


Buddy Bison’s Buzz September Update

Fund Your Dream Park Trip

Is there a park you dream of visiting? Talk to your school about applying to the Kids to Parks Day National School Contest! Title I schools can enter and win up to $1,000 to fund a dream park experience.

The deadline for entries is Thursday, February 14, 2019. Winners will be announced on NPT’s website Thursday, March 7, 2019.

Learn more about the contest, download the entry form, and watch our school video from last year! Questions? Contact Katie Zimmerman, ( or call 301-279-7275. If you would like to help sponsor this program, contact Rebecca Hansell,



Getting Hands-on Learning in the Great Outdoors


Last month, I shared the outdoor adventures of some our 2018 Kids to Parks Day School Contest winners. Now, let’s take a dive into the incredible hands-on learning that happens when you step out of the classroom and into your local park! Maybe these experiences can inspire your own contest entry.

Photo courtesy of Cody Perry.

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Reserve is a maze of lava fields, caves, and sagebrush steppes. Tendoy Elementary’s (ID) 5th graders explored the unique volcanic geology of this national park unit by hiking and enjoying ranger-led hands-on experiments. They saw firsthand how volcanoes can explode by making a “rocket” out of Alka-seltzer and vinegar!

Craters of the Moon was the best field trip, and best place I’ve ever been to,said 5th grader Callen. “With all of the sights, sounds, and caves, those things made Craters of the Moon so much better. I learned a lot. Like, the huge dried up lava grounds are called the Great Rift! I loved reading the signs and getting information about the areas the signs talked about. I hope to visit Craters of the Moon again!”


Photo courtesy of Meghan Hess Shamdasani.

Have you ever thought about being a scientist? SouthTech Academy’s (FL) high schoolers did a large project investigating the impact of plastic waste on their local seashore. They researched the different kinds of plastics in the oceans and participated in a class survey studying which straw people would choose once they knew its environmental effect. Then they traveled to Juno Beach and picked up trash along the shore. They discovered that what they learned in class is correct in real life! Afterwards, the students toured the Loggerhead Marinelife Center and saw the sea life that can be affected by trash in the ocean. All of the kids went home with a greater sense of what they can do to help.

I have become more self-aware about what [impact] my decisions have on my surroundings,” said one of the students. “Helping to clean Juno Beach has inspired me to want to help our community because being able to make a difference in our community can also make a difference around the world. If we clean the beaches then less trash and plastics can enter the ocean and be spread somewhere around the world. I also learned that just by educating people we can make a difference to help better our environment and our society. Now I want to help educate more people on ways they can help to better our environment.”

Photo courtesy of Krista Gordon.

3rd graders from Alderwood ES (WA) and the 4th grade of Cozier ES (WA) asked a big question before going on their field trip to Lime Kiln Point State Park: “How will I apply what I learn to make a difference where I live?” Their field trip was part of a lesson on “how societies interact with the natural world.”

At the park, the students observed how different types of soil and rock can filter pollutants. They also discovered creatures that live in tidal pools in the park. Finally, they hiked to the 19th-century lime kiln that gave the park its name. Cozier ES even spotted the orca pod they’d adopted!

“This was the first time on a ferry and to the islands for many of the students and parents. I wish you could see their eyes pop and their squeals of delight with each new vista they saw, each new discovery they made, or each new fact they learned,” said Krista Gordon, coordinator for the schools’ Salish Sea Experience. “When students are in the right place, it is an experience they will never forget. It inspires them to become stewards. It is exciting to see this younger generation come alive and understand they make a difference. It is reason for hope that we can learn to take care of this amazing planet.”

Give Back to your Park on Public Lands Day

The 25th Annual Public Lands Day is coming to a park near you on September 22, 2018!

For the last several years, I’ve celebrated the National Environmental Education Foundation’s Public Lands Day along with National Park Trust, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and too many other partners to count!

National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. Many federal public lands like national parks are FREE to enter on this day. Find an NPLD event [insert link] or use NPT’s Park Finder map [insert link] to find a great National Park Service site near you.

There are many ways you can participate this year! Check out some of our favorite ideas below:

  • Visit a national park for free.
  • Volunteer and receive a fee-free day coupon to be used on a future date. Find participating parks
  • Share your favorite outdoor activity on social media channel with the hashtag #NPSVolunteer, #FindYourPark and #NPLD. Don’t forget to tag #BuddyBison too!

Can’t make it to a park on September 22nd? You can have a “distance learning adventure” instead! Go to to go caving, visit an American rainforest, or meet bats up close. #BatWeek is coming up soon too, October 24-31. Learn more at their website.

How will you spend National Public Lands Day this year? Let us know by tagging us on social media with a picture of you and Buddy enjoying the outdoors: #BuddyBison #WheresBuddyBisonBeen.



Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Bryan Shares “Tips for Road Trips”

Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Bryan created a handy list of “Tips for Road Trips” to help you plan your next park adventure. Junior Ranger Bryan has traveled all around the East Coast, Midwest, and even in Canada to explore the outdoors and wants to help you make your next road trip with kids successful!


33 Acres Returned to Rocky Mountain National Park’s Wild Basin Area

The largest privately-held, developed land parcel located inside the Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park is now permanently protected federal wilderness thanks to National Park Trust’s (NPT) partnership with The Wilderness Land Trust and Rocky Mountain Conservancy. These three lead organizations worked with a number of local funders and supporters to purchase this critical property within the park, remove the existing two-story house from the property, and return the land to its natural state.

A generous gift from The Barrett Family Foundation to NPT of $150,000 was the final piece of funding that was needed to close the deal.

Images of the site before (left) and after removal of the house (right).

Since 2009, this land has been a high priority parcel that Rocky Mountain National Park sought to permanently protect. A highly coveted lot, the property and house were perched on a rocky overlook and could be seen from every vantage point within the Wild Basin area. With the removal of the house and the access road leading to the property, 33 acres of wilderness (the highest level of conservation protection) will be added to the park. The paved access road will be restricted to foot traffic until it is permanently removed, allowing the public to appreciate the view from the property’s overlook for the first time in nearly 100 years.

“We are pleased to be able to assist in returning this land to its natural state and reopen the area to the public, providing access to a beautiful overlook into the Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park, said Phil Selleck, Park Projects Director at National Park Trust. “Our national parks belong to everyone and this once private vista can finally be enjoyed by all and protected for future generations.”

“Rocky Mountain National Park is so appreciative of our partners and staff who have worked hard to add this parcel to the park,” said Darla Sidles, Superintendent of Rocky Mountain National Park. “It is an honor to forever ensure the protection and access of this beautiful Wild Basin area.”

“We are thrilled to see 33 acres of wilderness added to Rocky Mountain National Park,” said Brad Borst, President, The Wilderness Land Trust. “The Wild Basin area of the park provides many outstanding areas for hiking, fishing, and camping.  Permanent protection of this property will secure the area from intrusive development on the St. Vrain River. Visitors can now enjoy this property in its natural state, and we sincerely thank all our partners for helping to get the job done.”



NPT’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 62 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



The Wilderness Land Trust is a small, highly specialized nonprofit organization established to buy and protect wilderness land.  Since founded in 1992, the Trust has preserved 432 parcels comprising more than 47,000 acres of wilderness inholdings in 93 designated and proposed wilderness areas across 9 states.  The Wilderness Land Trust, a 501(c)(3) organization, has offices in California and Colorado.

For more information visit our website

How One Couple’s Love of Parks Will Live On

Bison Legacy Society founding members Rosemary and John Tiernan have spent a lifetime outdoors, teaching their children and grandchildren about the importance of connecting to the natural world. As donors to National Park Trust, they see their legacy and love for parks continuing on in a permanent way that will benefit the entire country.

Rosemary and John Tiernan grew up in New Jersey, visiting parks along the east coast and establishing their relationship with the outdoors at a young age. Rosemary escaped city-life by visiting her grandparents’ farm in Saddle River, NJ, where she could unwind in rolling meadows and swim in a stream that ran through the farm. John connected to nature as a Boy Scout, camping throughout the year from a young age.

“Once you develop that love of nature, and a love of the land, then you feel a stewardship, a responsibility,” noted Rosemary. “It is so important for children to have that opportunity to connect to the outdoors.”

Knowing this importance, the Tiernan’s actively worked to ensure their children and grandchildren had the same opportunities to connect with the natural world. They took regular family vacations to local and national parks. With family now spread across the country, they use parks like Muir Woods National Monument to reconnect with one another.

Now with more free time, Rosemary and John have made a point of visiting the larger national parks that are on their bucket list. Their most recent trip stretched 2,000+ miles with stops in Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Mount Rushmore. “You can see it on a TV screen, or read about it in a book, but it’s nothing like being there and experiencing the magnitude of these places,” said John.

Understanding the need for a connection to nature, they wanted to provide that same refuge to others, a space to breathe fresh air and understand the beauty and importance of nature to their daily lives.

In 2017, the Tiernan’s joined our Bison Legacy Society as founding members, a group of extraordinary people who provide future support for National Park Trust through bequests, financial accounts, retirement plans, life insurance policies, and charitable trusts. They view their support of NPT through the Bison Legacy Society as a “no-brainer;” it is a way for them to continue to preserve these places and teach children the importance of protecting these treasured spaces for the future. It is their legacy.

“Many hands make light work. If we all do a little bit we can protect these places and raise a new generation of park stewards to carry on this legacy,” said Rosemary.

The Tiernans chose to support the Bison Legacy Society because they’ve learned that, “NPT is very efficient; I don’t think there is a penny ever wasted, and so you feel as though your dollars are actually doing good, that they will be well-used,” stated Rosemary.

National Park Trust is proud to report that in fiscal year 2017, 89% of our resources were invested in our park preservation and youth education programs and we have been given the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar and an “A” rating from Charity Watch. We are good stewards of our parks and your gifts!

We invite you to join Rosemary and John in protecting our national parks in perpetuity. If you are interested in becoming a Bison Legacy Society member or have questions, please contact Rebecca Hansell, NPT’s program and office administrator at or download this form here. Thank you!

National Park Trust Wins $20,000 Explore Fund Grant from The North Face

Rockville, MD – National Park Trust (NPT) is pleased to announce that we have been selected as a 2018 The North Face Explore Fund Grant Recipient. With $20,000 from The North Face, NPT will provide 500 students from under-served communities in five states with hands-on environmental education experiences through our Buddy Bison School Program. With this opportunity, students are also introduced to outdoor recreation as they learn about the importance of becoming park stewards, and advocating for and protecting our precious natural resources.

The schools supported by this program include:

  • Fairmount Elementary, Newark, NJ – visiting Morristown National Historical Park
  • Mullanphy School, St. Louis, MO – visiting Gateway Arch National Park
  • Amersfort School, Brooklyn, NY – visiting Gateway National Recreation Area
  • Dana Elementary, Hendersonville, NC – visiting Carl Sandburg National Historic Site
  • several schools in Wilmington, DE – visiting First State National Historical Park

NPT is one of 40 grantees this year representing a diverse range of organizations that are helping to remove barriers to get children outside.

“At The North Face, we envision a world where curiosity and adventure know no limits— and we believe that those adventures bring us closer together,” said Tom Herbst, Vice President of Global Marketing at The North Face. “Our Explore Fund platform helps us bring exploration to life in the world, in real, measurable and meaningful ways. We know that exploration has a positive impact on people and society and so we’re working to remove barriers to it across the globe.

“National Park Trust is honored to receive this generous grant not only for this school year, but also for the past 8 years,” said Grace Lee, executive director of NPT. “Through the long-term support from The North Face we have been able to provide [total number of students] students from Title I schools with transformational opportunities at  their local parks where they can learn, play, and become connected to the importance of our public lands and waters.”



NPT’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 62 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



For more than 50 years, The North Face has been encouraging exploration – from our nation’s monuments to the local parks and trails close to our backyards. Knowing that exploration can be a force for good, they created the Explore Fund in 2010 to build a movement of outdoor exploration and empower future explorers. Since then, they have granted $3 million to more than 500 nonprofits, helping people of all backgrounds and all experiences to explore the outdoors.

For more information, visit The Explore Fund.