• About 1

Blog

Congratulations to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke

Congratulations to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke

Congratulations to Ryan Zinke, on being named the 52nd Secretary of the Interior. Zinke was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence on March 1st. He is the first person from Montana to serve as Secretary of the Interior.

“I am honored and humbled to serve Montana and America as Secretary of the Interior,” Zinke said. “I shall faithfully uphold Teddy Roosevelt’s belief that our treasured public lands are ‘for the benefit and enjoyment of the people’ and will work tirelessly to ensure our public lands are managed and preserved in a way that benefits all Americans for generations to come.”

Click here to read the full press release.

Photo courtesy of Tami Heilemann.


Buddy Bison Honors Extraordinary School Leaders

Buddy Bison Honors Extraordinary School Leaders

It’s award season! We all know about the Emmys, the Oscars and the Tonys. Last Friday, NPT surprised two members of the Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School with The Buddy, our National Teacher Award for Outstanding Environmental Stewardship.

Typically, we annually honor one outstanding educator; however, this year we made an exception and chose to recognize two extraordinary environmental school leaders: Bobby Caballero, Dean of Students and Rene Hayden, a 3rd-grade teacher. Each of them have played an important role in the implementation of the Buddy Bison School Program and engaging their entire school with parks and the outdoors.

“Elsie Whitlow Stokes was one of the first schools to join the Buddy Bison School Program in 2009, our inaugural year,” stated Grace Lee, NPT executive director. “Although the program was just getting off the ground, Bobby Caballero quickly embraced our new initiative, realizing the value of parks for his students.” And as soon as Rene Hayden learned about the program, he enthusiastically led the charge as well, using every opportunity to take his classroom curriculum outdoors and teach his students about the importance of park stewardship.”

What have the Stokes scholars experienced since 2009? They have paddled on the Anacostia River, rock climbed at Carderock with Secretary Sally Jewell, hiked and explored the planetarium at Rock Creek Park, helped us honor Representative Mike Simpson (ID) with the 13th Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award, enjoyed an annual all-school fall day at Watkins Regional Park where they also camped overnight. And this spring their 3rd graders and Rene will camp for three days and two nights at Harper’s Ferry.

Thank you Bobby, Rene, and Stokes PCS for leading by example and showing how beneficial and great the outdoors really are!


Check out Kidventurous, one of our KTP Blog Ambassador’s

Check out Kidventurous, one of our KTP Blog Ambassador’s

Kids to Parks Day is less than 2 months away and our Blog Ambassadors have been spreading the word about NPT’s national day of play. Celebrated annually on the third Saturday of May – this year May 20th – this grassroots movement is dedicated to getting children and families outdoors and into their local, state, and national parks. Click here to learn more about Kids to Parks Day and how you can get involved. Below is an excerpt from a recent blog by one of our Kids to Parks Day Blog Ambassadors, Kidventurous:

We love national parks (as well as national monuments, seashores, historic parks, etc.). On our epic cross-country road trip in 2015, we visited at least a dozen. This year, we’re on track to explore at least four (Shenandoah, Cuyahoga Valley, Devils Tower and Badlands), though I’m sure there will be more.

Now that Spring is officially here (thank goodness), I’m excited that Kids to Parks Day is just around the corner on Saturday, May 20. The National Park Trust’s Kids to Parks Day is an annual celebration of outdoor play in, where else, our parks, including national, state and local parks all across America.

Kids to Parks Day is a great opportunity to get kids outside and encourage active lifestyles, especially since many parks will be hosting family-friendly events that range from park clean-ups to guided hikes to hands-on activities, like arts and crafts. Even biking and fishing activities.

This year, Northside USA, has gotten in on the fun as a major sponsor of Kids to Parks Day. If you’re not familiar with Northside, they are an outdoor-focused company that sells well-made and affordable active footwear for men, women, even kids.

One of Northside’s goals is to make the outdoors more accessible for everyone. There’s no need for fancy and expensive gear. You don’t need the most advanced technology. Just get outside and go, though of course you don’t want to wear flip flops out on the hiking trail (which surprisingly, I have seen). 

Click here to read the full blog. Thank you Kidventurous for helping spread the work about Kids to Parks Day!


Kids Helping Kids Get to Parks

Kids Helping Kids Get to Parks

 The Bullis School in Potomac, MD 3rd-graders have participated in the Buddy Bison School Program since 2009. While they are not in need of resources for their own park trips, they actively help raise resources for our parks and to encourage under-served students to be good stewards, too!

For example, each year they enter the Kids to Parks Day National School Contest, but not to win a park trip for themselves. They take a school trip to Black Hill Regional Park each year and entered the contest on behalf of their “sister” school Washington Grove Elementary so they could go, too! Here is what Simon from Bullis had to say about why he and his classmates wanted to “win” a park trip for Washington Grove:

“It is important for a nine-year-old to go to parks because they can get fresh air and see amazing views of nature. Going to a park could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You can learn about the environment and how to preserve a park. You can see geysers, beaches, huge trees, canyons and more. When I went to Great Falls, I got to see a big waterfall. If you go to a park at a young age, you will grow up wanting to help the parks. When I am a parent, I will take my kids to a national park.”

In addition, his classmate Anna wrote a fictional story about why its important that kids like her take care of parks. Read it below:

“Once upon a time, a nine-year-old girl was playing school with her dolls. She was telling them about what the world would be like without national parks. This particular nine-year-old girl loved parks and wanted to do everything she could to help keep them clean. She decided to tell her own story about why they are important to nine-year-olds. ‘I think national parks are important because even though they are nothing but land, they are a beautiful sight. Also they are restricted areas so they help our environment stay clean and there won’t be any pollution or anything man-made. It is a good learning experience for kids like you and me.’

The dolls loved the story and were so excited to help national parks. One of the dolls, Hailey, asked if there were any animals in the parks. ‘Of course there are animals there,’ the girl answered. ‘The national parks are the animals’ natural habitats, and they are protected there from hunters and human pollution.’ Then Lizzie, another doll, asked, ‘What is pollution?’ I explained that pollution happens when people ruin the air from factories and vehicles. ‘It can also happen when people throw trash onto the streets or sidewalks. Eventually it goes into water like rivers, streams and oceans. Trash can also get into national parks. So you shouldn’t litter, and you should make sure to keep our earth clean.’

The dolls all huddled up and talked. When they came out of their huddle, they told the nine year old girl that they were going to visit a national park and make sure it is still clean.”

Thank you, Simon, Anna, and the Bullis School for thinking of other students and taking action to get them outdoors. We are very pleased that your contest entry this year was one of our winners!


Earth and Sky with Washington Jesuit Academy

Earth and Sky with Washington Jesuit Academy

Have you ever wondered what the stars look like to other countries and cultures?  5th-grade students from Washington Jesuit Academy (WJA) in Washington, D.C. found out when they visited Rock Creek Park, a national park right inside the District’s borders. There, the students experienced the only planetarium in the National Park Service and learned what ancient African cultures saw in the stars. After the planetarium, they hiked through the woods, where they identified plants and listened for the sounds of hidden animals, then explored the Nature Center and met some of the living things that call Rock Creek Park their home!

Thanks to the wonderful rangers for this terrific day and to the Clark Charitable Foundation who made this field trip possible. Each year the foundation supports WJA’s participation in our Buddy Bison School Program. To learn how you can support a school, contact Maryann Kearns at maryann@parktrust.org, or call 301-279-7275, ext. 15.


Ambassador Sarah: Exploring Our Public Lands

Ambassador Sarah: Exploring Our Public Lands

As a Buddy Bison Student Ambassador, Sarah Hullihen, a middle schooler from New Jersey, loves to explore local, state and national parks. Over the past year, Sarah has brought me on adventures to a number of public lands, including forests, monuments, and wildlife refuges. Check out her recent trip to the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in southern New Jersey and see why it’s such an amazing place:

As a Buddy Bison Student Ambassador, I get to explore our amazing local, state, and national parks. There are many other public lands that you can visit and explore, such as forests, monuments, and wildlife refuges.  Buddy Bison and I recently got to visit Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in southern New Jersey. This wildlife refuge manages and creates habitats for wildlife in this area. In the fall and spring, many migrating birds stop in the salt marshes and tall grasses here to find food and shelter. It is part of what is called the “Atlantic Flyway” because so many birds travel through here during migrations. You can visit here during different seasons and see different wildlife each time.

If you visit the Edwin B. Forsythe refuge, one of the cool things that you can do is go on the Wildlife Drive. This is an 8-mile long road that you can drive on around part of the refuge to see lots of birds and other wildlife. Along the way you will see signs telling you about the wildlife, the history of the refuge, and how the refuge makes habitats for different types of birds. Some of the things that you might see on the drive are a nesting platform for peregrine falcons, hawks, a turtle crossing, and maybe even a bald eagle!

There are also hiking trails around the marshes and some of the forest areas, and a visitor’s center. At the visitor’s center there are some really awesome exhibits about the habitats and animals in the refuge. One of the exhibits plays samples of bird songs, so that you can try and identify those birds as you are exploring outside. They even have an “Osprey Cam” where you can watch what is happening in one of the osprey nests. At the visitor’s center, you can also borrow bird identification books and binoculars to use when you are exploring. One thing that I really enjoyed at the refuge was the Junior Refuge Manager book and badge. When you visit the different parts of the refuge, you fill out the pages in the book, and then you can get a Junior Refuge Manager badge! So the next time you are ready to get out and explore, think about one of our great public lands, like your nearest wildlife refuge.

Thanks Sarah for this wonderful story and sharing some neat things about the refuge. You can follow Sarah’s adventures on social media (@jrrangersarah) and on her blog.


Buddy Bison Reunites With a Beloved Friend

Buddy Bison Reunites With a Beloved Friend

Last month 8th-grade Buddy Bison students from Brooklyn Jesuit Prep explored national parks in New York. they boarded a ferry to Ellis Island taking a quick first stop to see Lady Liberty. Ranger Dennis Mulligan and Ranger Reneel Langdon welcomed them at the docks and taught them about the statue’s majestic structure. Before their departure to Ellis Island, the students enjoyed a beautiful view of New York City.

Did you know that over the 60+ years of its operation as an immigration station, Ellis Island processed more than 12 million immigrants? That is a lot of people! The students learned this and more when they met Ranger Sam Webb there. He joined them for a fascinating audio tour leading them through the halls that immigrants walked as they entered this country. Seeing artifacts from different time periods and hearing immigrant stories was so inspiring! The students are excited to make plans to visit this park and other New York area parks in the near future!

A very BIG Buddy Bison thanks to Statue Cruises for providing the ferry transportation and to Richard and Nanci Czaja for their generous sponsorship of this school each year! Because of their important support, many of these students were able to visit these iconic historic sites for their first time ever!


Welcome Phil Selleck to the NPT Family

Welcome Phil Selleck to the NPT Family

NPT recently welcomed Phil Selleck, a former National Park Service (NPS) staffer, as our new park projects director. Here is what Phil shared about his career and why he joined the NPT team:

“I’ve had a pretty interesting career in the outdoors. Working as a seasonal firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, followed by two temporary stints with the Forest Service in the mountains of northeast Oregon in the high country and central Colorado. Then there’s 25 years in federal law enforcement/park management and eight years in Washington, D.C. at the National Park Service Headquarters and the National Capital Regional Office. All of it was aimed at protecting and conserving the outdoors and making visits by the public better and safer. But it didn’t begin there.

I grew up outside of Grand Rapids, MI, where I could walk to the woods and fields, and spend time wading in the creek, hiking, and catching frogs and crawfish. My father was a veteran of the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps. His idea of a vacation was a road trip to visit places like Pictured Rocks (before it was a national park site) or Tahquemanon Falls State Park, or a visit to my uncle’s cabin (with no electricity) in the woods near Kalkaska where we discovered nearby Sleeping Bear Dunes. I didn’t see a national park until I was 21 years old, but the die was cast many years before. That’s why I am excited to join the NPT team – so I can continue to make a positive impact on our national parks and encourage families to get their kids outside. It could change their lives!”

“We are delighted to welcome Phil Selleck to the NPT family. His breadth and depth of NPS knowledge and expertise along with his passion for our parks are wonderful assets to NPT,” stated Grace Lee, NPT executive director.

For more information about our park projects and how you can get involved, contact Phil at Phil@parktrust.org or call 301.279.7275 ext 14.


Kids to Parks Day National School Contest Winners Announced

Kids to Parks Day National School Contest Winners Announced

National Park Trust is pleased to announce the winners of our 2017 Kids to Parks Day School Contest! The annual contest was open to all public, public charter and private schools across the U.S. in grades pre-K through 12, with priority given to students from under-resourced communities.

Each awarded school will receive a grant this spring for up to $1,000 to fund their park trip in celebration of Kids to Parks Day. And each winning proposal incorporated education, outdoor recreation, and park stewardship. This year’s proposals are outstanding! The winners include 70 schools representing 28 states and Washington, D.C. We look forward to featuring many of their park experiences on our website and in our upcoming newsletters.

A tremendous thanks to Northside, for their lead sponsorship of the Kids to Parks Day National School Contest which will fund many of these park experiences.

For more information about the contest, contact Billy Schrack, director of youth programs, at william@parktrust.org or call 301-279-7275 x20.

Congratulations to our 70 schools! Now it’s time to plan your trip and celebrate KTP Day!

 


NPT to Honor Sen. Lamar Alexander (TN)

NPT to Honor Sen. Lamar Alexander (TN)

On June 14th at the Newseum, NPT will recognize Senator Lamar Alexander (Tennessee) with the 17th Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award. Senator Alexander will be honored for his extraordinary efforts to support our national parks and public lands through his service on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment and on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on National Parks.

“Documentarian Ken Burns called the U.S. National Park Service, ‘America’s best idea’ – and I couldn’t agree more. Growing up in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, I learned to appreciate our national parks and public places at an early age, and I have put that love for the outdoors to work as a United States Senator, trying to protect our parks, help make the air cleaner, and provide protected open spaces so that our children and grandchildren can enjoy the outdoors as I did,” Senator Alexander said. “I am grateful for this award, but really it’s the National Park Trust that deserves praise for its work in protecting and preserving national parks and connecting children to the Great American Outdoors.”

NPT Board Chair Bill Brownell shared, “We look forward to honoring Senator Lamar Alexander for his decades of service in Washington, D.C. and at home in Tennessee to support legislation and programs that will not only preserve America’s national parks today, but also guarantee that they will be here for the enjoyment of future generations.”

The Vento Award was established in 2000 to honor the memory and legacy of Bruce F. Vento, a twelve-term congressman, dedicated environmentalist and champion of legislation for America’s parks. Past recipients include Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN), Senator Rob Portman (OH), Senator Ron Wyden (OR), Congressman Mike Simpson (ID), Senator Jeff Bingaman (NM), Senator Susan Collins (ME), Senator Mark Udall (CO), Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (CA), Senator Harry Reid (NV), Congressman George Miller (CA), Senator John McCain (AZ), and Congressman John Lewis (GA).

All proceeds from the event benefit NPT’s park preservation and youth programs. To sponsor this event or purchase tickets, please contact our Director of Development Maryann Kearns at maryann@parktrust.org or call 301.279.7275. Read the complete press release here.


Kids to Parks Day National School Contest: Winners Announced March 1st

Kids to Parks Day National School Contest: Winners Announced March 1st

Our school contest entries are in. The winners will be announced tomorrow! Be sure to visit kidstoparks.org at 1:00 PM EASTERN. Stay tuned for updates on these lucky winners’ park trips.

A tremendous thanks to Northside for their lead sponsorship of the school contest. In addition, all those who 1) pledge at kidstoparks.org to go to a park on May 20th and celebrate Kids to Parks Day and/or 2) host a a kid-friendly event at their local park that weekend, can take advantage of Northside’s special promotion.


2016 Annual Impact Report

2016 Annual Impact Report

Check out our new 2016 Annual Impact Report and read highlights about our accomplishments thanks to the generous support from our partners and friends.


Preteen Celebrates His Birthday By Supporting Our Parks

Preteen Celebrates His Birthday By Supporting Our Parks

How many preteens do you know that would give up birthday presents to support our national parks?  Our newest friend Alex  Riley did just that. Check out his inspirational letter below:

 “My name is Alex. I am 11 years old, and I chose instead of presents for my birthday party to donate to the National Park Trust. I wanted to do this because they help the National Park Service in a lot of projects promoting education and the environment. I like to go birding. I’ve been in places around the country looking for birds. Some of my favorites are the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Maumee Bay State Park, and the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Thank you for protecting parks and promoting education.”

If you also feel inspired by Alex’s story, check out our website to find out how you can support National Park Trust and the public lands you love!


Behind the Scenes on Buddy’s First Book

Behind the Scenes on Buddy’s First Book

Just before the new year, Dr. Ilona Holland, author of  Buddy Bison’s Yellowstone Adventure and Buddy Bison were invited to visit students from The Odyssey School in Stevenson, MD. At an all-lower-school assembly, Dr. Holland read and gave us a behind-the-scenes look into how the book was created before doing a book signing.

 The Odyssey School is making a positive impact on their community by focusing on education for children who have been diagnosed with dyslexia and other language differences. This engaging special assembly was a great opportunity to meet the author, and learn about the writing process and the mission of National Park Trust: preserving parks today and tomorrow!  These students have been studying national parks all year long in honor of the Centennial of the National Park Service, so this program was particularly relevant. Plus, each student was very excited to have a book and a Buddy Bison to take home with them.

 This program would not have been possible without support from our board member Stephen Schuler and his wife Megan, an Odyssey School tutor. Many thanks to Dr. Holland for making the trip to meet these wonderful students. It was a truly memorable day!


Birds of a Feather Flock Together with Buddy Bison

Birds of a Feather Flock Together with Buddy Bison

Have you ever met a dinosaur? Well, that’s what the 4th graders from Patterson Elementary in Washington, D.C. did! According to some paleontologists, birds of prey, or raptors, are actually avian dinosaurs. Rodney Stotts from Earth Conservation Corps’ “Anacostia RaptorWatch” program, visited Patterson and brought two birds of prey with him: a Harris’s hawk and a Eurasian eagle-owl. We had a great time listening to him talk about the birds’ incredible adaptations that help them hunt their prey. Because these raptors are so well-trained, some of us were even allowed to touch them!

We were able to meet these fascinating birds thanks to support from the Diana Davis Spencer (DDS) Foundation, who is sponsoring Patterson Elementary in the Buddy Bison School Program this year. Rodney also visited another school sponsored by the DDS Foundation: The Children’s Guild DC Public Charter School. We bring kids to parks and parks to kids!


Every Kid in a Ship

Every Kid in a Ship

“Cast the main sail and swab the deck!” is the cry you’d hear if you were traveling on the historic three-masted ship Balclutha during its supply runs all over the world from the 1800s through the 1930s. Now Balclutha represents the history of the shipping industry and the people that worked during that time. The National Park Service, The North Face, and Outdoors Alliance for Kids joined me in January to host 50 fourth-grade students from Hoover Elementary School at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park in California where Balclutha is docked today. Here’s a cool fun fact: did you know that back in 1998, National Park Trust helped the park restore the deck of the Balclutha?

The day started off with The North Face (TNF) athlete ambassadors and endurance runners, Dylan Bowman and Paddy O’Leary, who led activity stations and shared their passion for the outdoors. They engaged the fourth graders in a fun warm up and relay race to help inspire them to be active wherever they are. They were also welcomed by TNF’s Rachel Gray and Park Superintendent Kevin Hendricks who, along with the TNF volunteers, presented every student with their Every Kid in a Park pass which provides them and their families free entrance to any federal land or water until September. Learn how to obtain one for your fourth grader here!

The students not only learned about the different ships at the park but also about the biology under them!

Safety is important when near water so everyone put on personal flotation devices. We then laid on our bellies (the park program’s name is “Belly Biology” – get it?) to find sea creatures that live near the docks and ships in the harbor. Some even live ON the docks and the ships!

An enormous Buddy Bison thank you to The North Face for sponsoring this event and the four other Every Kid in the Park celebrations across the country.


Extra Desert Please

Extra Desert Please

Our Buddy Bison Student Ambassador, Tigran Nahabedian, knows that winter can be an exceptional time to visit national parks! Tigran and his family recently took me on an adventure to several national park units in Arizona. Read about some of Tigran’s trip highlights below:

Buddy Bison loves adventure and we had some great adventures this winter in Arizona, where my grandmother lives. I love Arizona and Arizona is a great place for junior rangers. They even have their own Junior Archeologist booklet that lets you collect rockers. We packed our bags and after many hours of traveling, found ourselves in Organ Pipe Cactus National Park.

We didn’t know much about Organ Pipe Cactus National Park before we got there and we weren’t alone. A ranger told us a story of a superintendent that missed the park and drove into Mexico. We pitched our tent and that night heard javelinas outside the tent. We learned that javelinas are peccaries, not pigs.

The next day we got a junior ranger booklet and went on a very bumpy scenic drive. Along the way, we stopped every time we saw water to look for tracks and we saw some good ones including a mountain lion! The mountain lion had been spotted in the area and this one had BIG paws.  I love all the desert vegetation but at this park all the wildlife was out at night. Buddy wouldn’t have enjoyed eating there—not much grass and lots of thorns.

Buddy and I were recognized from the Subaru Share the Love commercials. Everyone had nice things to say and were very supportive.

Next we went to Coronado National Monument and my mom got to wear a full suit of armor. It took two people to help her put it on and take it off. Can you imagine having to wear that every day?

Another great park near Sierra Vista is Kartchner Caverns State Park. This is a must-visit cave and offers one of my favorite cave tours. You must see Kubla Khan because it is enormous!   

One of the highlights of the trip was visiting the Petrified Forest National Park. There is so much more than I expected. The petrified wood is beautiful and I saw some amazing pieces. What I didn’t expect were all of the Native American cultural sites and I particularly liked the incredible petroglyphs. 

Also, we visited three national monuments that I really enjoyed—Walnut Canyon, Sunset Volcano Crater and Wupatki. These three monuments are really close together and I think they should combine them to make a single national park. The number of cliff dwellings at Walnut Canyon was incredible. At Sunset Volcano Crater, I saw an interesting squirrel with long rabbit-like ears called the Abert’s squirrel. Wupatki had many clay-colored pueblos and I was fortunate to meet Astronaut Bo Bobko there.

The last park we visited was the Grand Canyon National Park. This was the first visit for my mom and she loved it. Grand Canyon never disappoints. When you visit there in winter, I would recommend going to El Tovar Lodge to enjoy a nice cup of hot chocolate.

Some people wouldn’t consider camping in the snow but it can be a ton of fun! Just remember to dress in layers, have warm sleeping bags, and bring your fuzzy Buddy Bison.

(Above photo courtesy of Vahagn Nahabedian.)


Bringing History to Life

Bringing History to Life

In addition to preserving treasured natural areas, national parks celebrate the rich history and influential historical figures that have helped shape our country. Our Buddy Bison Student Ambassador, Sarah Hullihen, knows a thing or two about historical parks and recently explored some new locations with me:

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk in the footsteps of Alexander Hamilton, Marquis de Lafayette, or even George Washington?  One of the reasons I really enjoy visiting historical parks is that they can help bring history to life.  Three historical parks that I have recently visited are Washington’s Crossing Historic Park, Valley Forge National Historical Park, and Brandywine Battlefield Park.  These parks are all places that help tell the story of the Revolutionary War.

Washington’s Crossing Historic Park is the place where George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River on the night of December 25, 1776. I got to see a reenactment of Washington and his troops crossing the river, and it was very exciting, and also very educational.Brandywine Battlefield Park is located where a battle of the Revolutionary War was fought on September 11, 1777.  When you visit here, you can see a house used for General Washington’s headquarters and the fields where the soldiers fought.

General Washington and the Continental Army stayed at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777. Today you can visit Valley Forge National Historic Park and see huts built to look like the ones soldiers would have stayed in during the Revolutionary War.  If you complete the Junior Ranger badge program, you will learn all about the history of this park. Visiting historical parks is awesome because you can learn a lot and have fun too!

Follow Sarah’s adventures on social media (@jrrangersarah) and make sure to check out her blog.


NPT, North Face Global Athletes and Partners Connect Kids with the Outdoors in “Every Kid in a Park” Event

NPT, North Face Global Athletes and Partners Connect Kids with the Outdoors in “Every Kid in a Park” Event

On Thursday, January 26, 2017 National Park Trust, The North Face, and the Outdoors Alliance for Kids joined the National Park Service to co-host an Every Kid in a Park event at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park for 60 fourth graders from Hoover Elementary School. This is the third event in a special Every Kid in a Park event series hosted in five different cities (NYC, D.C, San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago), all funded by The North Face Explore Fund. 

Click here to read what one of our blog ambassadors, Outdoorsy Mama,  had to say about this special event.


Fourth Graders Receive Passes To Visit Public Lands And Waters

Fourth Graders Receive Passes To Visit Public Lands And Waters

FOURTH GRADERS RECEIVE PASSES TO VISIT PUBLIC LANDS AND WATERS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Contact:   Grace Lee, 301-706-3407, grace@parktrust.org; Lynn Cullivan, 415-561-7006, lynn_cullivan@nps.gov; Brenna Muller, 202-630-1864, brenna.muller@sierraclub.org

Fourth Graders Receive Passes to Visit Public Lands and Waters

Every Kid in a Park Event at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park connects children with nature

[San Francisco] – Today, partners came together to ensure kids across America can experience our national parks and public lands. The National Park Trust, The North Face, and the Outdoors Alliance for Kids joined the National Park Service to co-host an Every Kid in a Park event at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park for 60 fourth graders from Hoover Elementary School. This is the third event in a special Every Kid in a Park event series hosted in five different cities (NYC, D.C, San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago), all funded by The North Face Explore Fund.

“We are proud to support the Every Kid in a Park initiative and programs that expose participants to the beauty and joy of the outdoors,” said Ann Krcik, Senior Director of Outdoor Exploration at The North Face. “Through the Explore Fund grants, we are building a community of outdoor explorers and inspiring people to love and protect the places where we play.”

The students received free passes to America’s public lands and waters through the Every Kid in a Park initiative, which seeks to connect young people with the great outdoors by granting free entry to national parks and public lands, waters and shores for all fourth-graders and their families.

The North Face global athlete and endurance runner, Dylan Bowman, also joined the event to share his passion for the outdoors and lead activity stations. Dylan engaged the fourth graders in a fun warm up and relay race to help inspire the kids to be active and enjoy our natural playgrounds.

“We were delighted to work with The North Face and the Outdoors Alliance for Kids to connect local Bay-area 4th graders to the Maritime National Historical Park. They experienced a fun-filled day learning about local wildlife, history and outdoor recreation — and the importance of enjoying and preserving these special places,” stated Grace Lee, Executive Director, National Park Trust.

“We are excited to launch the second year of our Every Kid In a Park program, and welcome a new crew of fourth graders to San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park,” Superintendent Kevin Hendricks said. “With so many significant National Park sites right here in our local area, I know that these Bay Area youth will be well on the way to discovering their National Parks.”

“The Outdoors Alliance for Kids is honored to support the Every Kid in a Park initiative to connect fourth graders across America with the outdoors,” said OAK Co-Founder and Chair, Jackie Ostfeld. “Too few children have opportunities to explore and enjoy the natural world and programs like this are critical to ensuring all kids can visit their public lands.”

###

About The North Face®: The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor, Inc., was founded in 1966 with the goal of preparing outdoor athletes for the rigors of their next adventure. Today we are the world’s leading outdoor brand, creating athlete-tested, expedition-proven products that help people explore and test the limits of human potential. We protect our outdoor playgrounds and minimize our impact on the planet through programs that encourage sustainability. The North Face products are available at premium and specialty retail sporting goods stores globally and we are headquartered in California on a LEED Platinum-certified campus. For more information, please visit www.thenorthface.com.

About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 413 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us atwww.nps.gov, on Facebookwww.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitterwww.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTubewww.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.

About National Park Trust: National Park Trust, a 501(c)(3) non profit, is dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. Since 1983, NPT has completed more than 100 land projects benefiting 40 national parks and other public lands in 33 states and Washington, D.C.  Since 2009, our Buddy Bison School Program and national Kids to Parks Day have engaged 2,000,000 students across the country with our nation’s parks, public lands and waters (ParkTrust.org).

About the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK): OAK is a national strategic partnership of organizations from diverse sectors with a common interest in connecting children, youth and families with the outdoors. The members of OAK are brought together by the belief that the wellness of current and future generations, the health of our planet and communities and the economy of the future depend on humans having a personal, direct and life-long relationship with nature and the outdoors. OAK brings together more than eighty businesses and organizations, led by a steering committee which includes representatives from the Alliance for Childhood, American Heart Association, Children & Nature Network, Latino Outdoors, National Recreation and Park Association, National Wildlife Federation, NatureBridge, The North Face, Public Lands Service Coalition (a program of The Corps Network), REI, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society and the YMCA of the USA to address the growing divide between children, youth and the natural world. For more information: www.outdoorsallianceforkids.org


Young Scholars Learn about Freshwater Ecosystems

Young Scholars Learn about Freshwater Ecosystems

 Just before the end of 2016, 120 kindergartners from Harmony Hills Elementary in Silver Spring, MD explored the Aquatic Resources Education Center (AREC) at Anacostia Park. Over the course of three days they received hands-on biology lessons ranging from activities with local freshwater ecosystems and habitats to aquatic-themed stories and sing-a-longs.

Kudos to the AREC staff and the Department of Energy & Environment for leading the fun and educational activities. In addition, many thanks to Robert Trone and the Trone family for their sponsorship of Harmony Hills this school year.

“Our family is delighted to partner with National Park Trust by sponsoring Harmony Hills Elementary as a Buddy Bison School this academic year. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to connect and engage their youngest students with the many benefits of our local national parks and public lands,” stated Robert Trone, co-founder of Total Wine and More.

We look forward to planning their next park adventure this spring. If you would like to learn more about our school sponsorship program, contact Maryann Kearns, director of development, at maryann@parktrust.org or call 301-279-7275 x15.


Discovering National Parks and Camping Too!

Discovering National Parks and Camping Too!

Thanks to our new partnership with the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation and their outstanding gift of $202,000, we welcomed 10 Title 1 schools in Washington, D.C. into this school year’s Buddy Bison School Program. Plus 6 schools will experience 3 days and 2 nights of camping at Prince William Forest, Harper’s Ferry or the Appalachian Trail!

“We are very pleased to be working with National Park Trust to provide robust national park experiences for elementary and middle school students in Washington, D.C.,” stated Diana Davis Spencer, president of the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation. “Through NPT’s Buddy Bison School Program, we are providing local children with memorable park experiences and helping to foster future conservation leaders that will be inspired to preserve and protect our national parks for generations to come.”

“We are delighted to be able to impact a large number of schools in one community and provide multiple park experiences for their students through this extraordinary gift from the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation,” said Grace Lee, NPT executive director.

To learn more about how you can support a school in your community contact Maryann Kearns, director of development, at maryann@parktrust.org or call 301-279-7275 x15.


Featured on PBS NewsHour

Featured on PBS NewsHour

Special correspondent Kavitha Cardoza of Education Week joins our Buddy Bison students from Pennycook Elementary (CA) at Muir Woods National Monument near San Francisco. The 4th graders had a memorable day at the park, soaking in the beauty of the magnificent redwood forest and taking advantage of the outstanding education programs provided by the National Park Service. Funding for the Pennycook students was provided by National Park Trust as part of our national efforts to cultivate our next generation of outdoor enthusiasts and park stewards. Watch here.


NPT Honored by the Outdoors Alliance for Kids

NPT Honored by the Outdoors Alliance for Kids

As part of last week’s gathering of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK), NPT was awarded an inaugural OAK Leaf Award “in appreciation of leadership and collaboration in connecting kids with nature.” The awards ceremony was held at The Wilderness Society’s Ansel Adams Gallery on November 15th. Others recognized included our friends and partners at REI, The North Face, Children & Nature Network and the National League of Cities.

“When President Obama issued his Every Kid in a Park call to action, National Park Trust stepped up, expanded its programming in cities across America and worked collaboratively to grow opportunities to get kids outdoors,” says OAK Co-founder and Chair Jackie Ostfeld. “OAK wouldn’t be what it is today without the dedication of our members to getting kids outdoors through collaboration. We are honored to work with NPT and pleased to present the Buddy Bison team with an inaugural OAK Leaf Award.”

“Working together with the members of this alliance, we are able, each year, to engage tens of thousands of students from Title 1 schools across the country with our iconic parks and public lands, providing transformational park experiences. OAK is an excellent example of the power of partnerships, and we are honored to accept this award,” stated executive director of the National Park Trust, Grace Lee.


Protecting Rocky Mountain National Park

Protecting Rocky Mountain National Park

National Park Trust (NPT), in partnership with the Rocky Mountain Conservancy and The Wilderness Land Trust joined forces recently to help make Rocky Mountain National Park just a little more “wild.” A 12.5-acre private inholding located in the Wild Basin area was on sale for only the second time in 75 years. Wild Basin is a popular hiking destination for park visitors with breathtaking views of wilderness, rushing mountain streams, numerous cascades, and waterfalls. By acquiring this property, 33 total acres of wilderness will be added to the park when the existing access road and cabin are removed.

The last critical piece of funding of $150,000 was provided to NPT by The Barrett Family Foundation who have a special connection to the park. “Living in Boulder we are fortunate to have Rocky Mountain National Park at our doorstep,” stated Richard Barrett of The Barrett Family Foundation. “Our youngest daughter had her wedding at the gateway to the park where wild turkeys and deer were part of the ambiance. Wild Basin with the North St. Vrain River flowing through it is one of those unspoiled, enchanting, wilderness areas of the park that was best left unspoiled by the presence of a mountain cabin.”

Park Superintendent Darla Sidles added, “We are extremely grateful to Rocky Mountain Conservancy, The Wilderness Land Trust and National Park Trust for acquiring this private piece of land inside the park. This is a gift that will live on forever as protected wilderness.”

To learn more about this project or to get involved with our park preservation efforts, contact our Park Project Director Phil Selleck Phil@parktrust.org.

Check out our other current projects here.


Buddy’s Island Escapade

Buddy’s Island Escapade

I am sure you have heard of the President’s Every Kid in a Park initiative to get every 4th grader a free annual public lands pass, but did you know that I have been working with Channel Islands National Park to bring every 4th grader in Ventura County, CA (all 10,000 of them) to the Visitor Center? With a grant from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation matched by the National Park Service Centennial funds, we are showing every 4th grader the importance of Channel Islands and why this special place is protected.


Watching a live dive with Ranger Kelly Moore while actually talking to her was so exciting! If that’s not enough, I also met our Buddy Bison Student Ambassador, Tigran Nahabedian, who helped the students during their visit. His 201.6+ hours of volunteering in our parks in honor of the 2016 Centennial really showed when talking with students about the sea creatures of Channel Islands.


Faye Vea, a 4th grade teacher from Rio Rosales Elementary, said, “Thank you for making this trip possible for our fourth grade students and for encouraging them to take [Buddy Bison] to different parks, forests, lakes, rivers, mountains, and canyons! The students are able to do this because they were given an Every Kid in a Park pass!”


Get your own free 4th grade voucher at https://everykidinapark.gov/.

A Walk Down Monument Lane

A Walk Down Monument Lane

Have you ever been to the National Mall in Washington, D.C.? There are so many historical monuments there, and I got to visit 4 of them with Neval Thomas Elementary in Washington, D.C. and their school’s sponsor, Pepco!


Pepco volunteers hiked with us to each of the monuments, helping to answer all of our questions. We started off at the Jefferson Memorial, then explored the Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, Jr. monuments. We finished our day at the Lincoln Memorial, which many of the kids said is their favorite. They took this information back to the classroom to help them write a report on which monument they liked the best.


It’s amazing that historical monuments like these are part of the National Park System! Go to FindYourPark.com to find more national parks to visit and make them your own. Thanks so much to Pepco for helping Neval Thomas find theirs!

Going BIG at Big Thicket National Preserve

Going BIG at Big Thicket National Preserve

Mid-October was all about Texas! I recently headed to southeast Texas to explore Big Thicket National Preserve with my 4th-grade friends from Hartsfield Elementary in Houston and Ehrhart School in Beaumont. Their trips were made possible thanks to National Park Service (NPS) Centennial Challenge funds. Thank you NPS!

 

The students went on NPS ranger-led hikes along the Sundew Trail, where they learned about the vast and diverse habitats that make up Big Thicket, including the threatened longleaf pine forests. They also learned about food webs and the different roles that animals and plants play in ecosystems. The students had such a good time that many were asking the rangers about visiting the park again with their families. Now that’s what Buddy Bison likes to hear!

Ambassador Sarah: Well that’s a First

Ambassador Sarah: Well that’s a First

Ambassador Sarah: Well that’s a First

What an exciting fall for our Buddy Bison Student Ambassador, Sarah Hullihen! Remember when Sarah participated in the National Park Service celebration at Independence National Historical Park? Well, Sarah has kept the adventures going and recently stopped by the First State National Historical Park in New Castle, DE.


Did you know that the “First State” was actually the last state to get a National Park Service unit? Well, the First State National Historical Park is made up of sites all the way from the northern to the southern parts of the state of Delaware. This park was created in 2013 as the First State National Monument. I was able to visit some of the sites, including Fort Christina, Holy Trinity Church, the New Castle Courthouse Museum, and the New Castle Green. Since I love visiting historical sites, this was the perfect park for me to visit. And, this year happens to be the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act. I was even able to get a special wooden Junior Ranger badge during my visit!


During my visit, I learned that the sites that make up First State National Historical Park, tell the story of the many different groups of people who have settled and lived in Delaware. At Fort Christina in Wilmington, a monument marks where Swedish settlers landed in 1638. Holy Trinity Church, also called Old Swedes Church, is also in Wilmington, and both of these places are National Historic Landmarks. In New Castle, you can visit the Courthouse Museum and other buildings on the “Green”. Some of these building are as old as the seventeenth century. New Castle was the colonial capital of Delaware, and William Penn landed here in 1682.


The First State National Historical Park also includes other sites, such as the John Dickenson Plantation in Dover and the Ryves Holt House in Lewes. So, next time you are passing by Delaware, make sure to check out the National Park Unit sites there.


Follow Sarah’s adventures on social media (Instagram/Twitter) and make sure to check out her blog.

2016-17 Catalogue for Philanthropy

2016-17 Catalogue for Philanthropy

Look who made the 2016-17 Catalogue for Philanthropy! Yep, that’s us being recognized for getting all 3,200 fourth-grade students in DCPS to a National Park during the 2016-17 school year. Visit our profile on Catalogue for Philanthropy and check out our wishlist for ways you can support our work preserving parks and getting more students out to explore them.
Click here to download the 2016 catalogue.


Photo courtesy of Julia Schweitzer, Wilderness Inquiry.

View more articles