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#FrankFriday – 1 Week To Kids To Parks Day

#FrankFriday – 1 Week To Kids To Parks Day

We like to think that every day is a great day to get to a park, but especially on May 20th! Kids to Parks Day is our national day of outdoor play and it is just a week away! Come join the grassroots movement to get outside and enjoy your parks big or small. You might even be able to take in a view like this one from our artist ambassador, Frank Lee Ruggles!

#Arizona #FrankFriday #KidsToParks

See more images from National Park Trust Artist Ambassador Frank Lee Ruggles. Click Here


The413Mom: Kids to Parks Day is coming up May 20! We’re celebrating with an awesome giveaway! #kidstoparks #natparktrust #getoutside

The413Mom: Kids to Parks Day is coming up May 20! We’re celebrating with an awesome giveaway! #kidstoparks #natparktrust #getoutside

There are a lot of great KTP events happening in the Eastern part of the state, which you can find out about here. But you don’t have to participate in a sponsored event in order to take the pledge and enter to win some great prizes. You can have your own adventure right here at your favorite local park. After all, National Park Trust’s motto is “Explore outdoors, the parks are yours.”

Photo Credit: The413Mom


Tigran’s Travels with Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke

Tigran’s Travels with Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke

Buddy Bison Student Ambassador with Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke at Channel Islands National Park. Photo courtesy of Vahagn Nahabedian.

Our Buddy Bison Student Ambassador, Tigran Nahabedian, was recently invited to give a special tour of Channel Islands National Park to the new Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke. In addition to learning about the wildlife and history of the islands, Tigran and Secretary Zinke discussed the importance of our nation’s parks and ways to improve them for the future. Read about Tigran’s account of their meeting below:

“On April 17, 2017 Commander Ryan Zinke came to Channel Islands National Park to learn about the islands, wildlife, history, its use and to talk about how he is going to make the parks a better place. Commander Zinke has the authority and power to help the national parks because he is the Secretary of the Interior. I became interested in Commander Zinke when he was nominated to become Secretary of the Interior and I started to research him, I read his book American Commander and everything I could find about him on the internet. He was the Commander of Seal Team Six, a congressman from Montana and he enjoys hunting and fishing.

I wrote him a letter in January before he was confirmed as Secretary of the Interior and said that I was very excited he was going to solve the deferred maintenance issue in our parks. Deferred maintenance is when something falls into disrepair like a dock or a road and the park managers say we will fix it later because we do not have the money now. It is a huge problem with over 12 billion dollars in needed repairs.

Our national parks are as American as our national flag. Just consider Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, Fort McHenry and the flag that inspired the Star Spangled Banner, the Liberty Bell, and the battlefields that shaped this nation: all of these places are national parks.

Secretary Zinke wrote me a letter and invited me to give him a tour of Channel Islands National Park.

We left from Santa Barbara and went to Prisoner’s Harbor on Santa Cruz Island. We saw dolphins and sea lions on the crossing and I spent the trip across the channel talking to the Secretary, his wife, his staff, rangers and other visitors. I was one of the only people outside of his staff that knew he was going to the islands and it was really special to me because it was National Park Week.

I was able to talk to the Secretary about the recovery of the island fox, the fastest recovery of a mammal under the Endangered Species Act. I gave him a fox photograph to remind him that when we put our minds to solving a problem we can achieve great things with strong partnerships.

We also discussed the deferred maintenance issue, and I showed him pictures from the Channel Islands National Park and Tule Spring Fossil Beds National Monument. Tule Springs is a new National Monument and for years people have dumped trash on the monument lands. The Secretary agreed that this is an easy problem to solve and must be solved.

I left the Islands and returned home feeling that the National Parks are in good hands and confident that the Secretary will help the parks to the best of his ability. His role model is Theodore Roosevelt, and he is fond of quoting the Roosevelt Arch at Yellowstone that the parks are for the ‘Benefit and Enjoyment of the People.’ I am looking forward to working with him again in the future. As Secretary Zinke says, ‘We all rise and fall on the same tide.'”


Hike It Baby: Living Life Loud

Hike It Baby: Living Life Loud

Living Life Loud

By Heidi Schertz

Photos are from Ashley Schneider and Krystal Weir

“Hey! Do you see me? Look at this rock! It’s got the largest bug I’ve ever seen on it. EW! It TOUCHED me.”

That’s the sound of kids. Kids live life out loud, don’t they? They have a way of taking things that are completely normal and making them sound like a brand new discovery. My 3-and-a-half-year-old acts like he’s found the secret to sustainable energy when he exclaims that he’s found The Perfect Stick. “Can I keep it?” he wants to know. Between him and my one-year-old, there is rarely a quiet moment in our house.

In today’s world, there are so many places where it isn’t okay to be loud. It’s one of the reasons that Hike it Baby is so proud to partner with the National Park Trust. Together, we are seeking to provide places for kids to be loud, noisy, rambunctious and joyful. We firmly believe that every child should have access to the wonders that our landscape offers. The National Park Trust mission to encourage kids to “get out and go” has never been more important.

At Hike it Baby, our mission is to raise the next generation to love the outdoors. We can’t do that if our children are inside. The more we take our children outside, the more comfortable they are being outside. The more comfortable they are, the more they will want to go outside. Each little step that we take to encourage the habit of being outdoors and exploring the wilderness around us is a step in the right direction for our kids.

This Kids to Parks Day, join us on a hike. We will get dirty. The kids will be loud. We’ll jump in puddles or hop like a frog. We’ll run along beaches or roll down hills. We’ll take small children into the wilds on our backs. And something amazing will happen. Our children will thrive. They will love the smell of the dirt, the trees and the fresh air. Our children will run, jump and holler. They will burn off all the extra energy that seems to be created out of thin air.

And each time it happens they will fall more in love with this planet of ours. Come play outside. Come be loud.

Find Hike it Baby Kids to Parks Day events at kidstoparks.org. Check them out and register to be counted on Kids to Parks Day!


7TH ANNUAL  ‘KIDS TO PARKS DAY’ SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2017 A NATIONAL CELEBRATION OF PARKS

7TH ANNUAL ‘KIDS TO PARKS DAY’ SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2017 A NATIONAL CELEBRATION OF PARKS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  May 8, 2017

Join the conversation on Twitter: @natparktrust #kidstoparks #buddybison

Share your park experience on Facebook and Instagram: @nationalparktrust #kidstoparks #buddybison

7TH ANNUAL  ‘KIDS TO PARKS DAY’ SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2017 A NATIONAL CELEBRATION OF PARKS

(Left: photo courtesy of National Park Trust; Right: photo courtesy of Hike It Baby)

Washington, D.C., May 8, 2017 – Children, families and schools in communities across America will celebrate their local, state and national parks and public lands on Saturday, May 20th in commemoration of the 7th Annual Kids to Parks Day. National Park Trust estimates that nearly one million people will attend 1,000 park events across the country in what is fast becoming America’s national day of outdoor play.

“Children of all ages – in unprecedented numbers – will be engaging with our local, state and national parks on May 20th,” said Grace Lee, executive director, National Park Trust. “We are excited to collaborate this year with Hike it Baby, engaging our youngest park stewards and families with 200 Hike it Baby events planned across America to celebrate Kids to Parks Day.”

The US Senate passed a resolution of support, co-sponsored by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Rob Portman (R-OH), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI).

Mayors from more than 350 cities and towns – including Chicago (IL), Boston (MA), Philadelphia (PA), Orlando (FL), Dallas (TX), San Diego (CA), Atlanta (GA), Tucson (AZ), Chattanooga (TN), Portland (OR), Vineland (NJ), Denver (CO), and Youngstown (OH) have signed resolutions of support and are planning Kids to Parks Day events on May 20th.

Visit www.kidstoparks.org for a complete list of park events by state and downloadable tips and activity guides to help children, families and teachers plan park adventures. Those who pledge to participate will also have a chance to win a camping package from The North Face including a tent, 4 sleeping bags and a duffel bag.

Kids to Parks Day national sponsors include:

  • Northside
  • FirstEnergy Foundation
  • Guest Services, Inc.
  • Boy Scouts of America
  • M&T Bank
  • PBS Kids’ Nature Cat
  • CamelBak
  • The North Face
  • Eastern National

National Park Trust’s Kids to Parks Day has the support of the National Park Service and America’s State Parks. Other NPT collaborators include: the National League of Cities’ Institute for Youth, Education, and Families; American Academy of Pediatrics; National Recreation and Park Association; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; National Geographic Kids; American Hiking Society; Children & Nature Network; National Wildlife Federation; Sierra Club; Outdoors Alliance for Kids; National Environmental Education Foundation; American Recreation Coalition; National Parks Conservation Association; The Wilderness Society; and Outdoor Families Magazine.

Kids to Parks Day is the signature event of NPT’s popular Buddy Bison® School Program which teaches environmental education. Through its woolly mascot Buddy Bison, NPT encourages children to “Explore outdoors, the parks are yours!” More than 60 elementary and middle Title I schools in 15 states and Washington, D.C. participate in the Buddy Bison School Program, which provides classroom resources and fully funded park trips that enhance and expand school curricula.

In 2012, NPT launched the Kids to Parks Day National School Contest. This year, NPT awarded park grants to 70 Title I schools in 28 states and Washington, D.C. benefiting nearly 4,000 children, grades pre-K through 12. The grants will help students put their ideas into action and visit, learn, steward and play in their local, state and national parks and public lands this month.

ABOUT NATIONAL PARK TRUST

National Park Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to the preservation and protection of our national parks and the engagement of our youth – especially those who are under-served – with our country’s public lands and water. As people spend more time indoors and as successive generations grow up with less of a connection to nature, NPT wants everyone to have an American park experience. To achieve this, NPT is preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow (parktrust.org; kidstoparks.org).

Media Contact: Olwen Pongrace, 202.253.3190, olwen@parktrust.org

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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.


#FrankFriday – Shenandoah River State Park

#FrankFriday – Shenandoah River State Park

Hello from Shenandoah River State Park! Did you know there are over 1,600 acres with 24+ miles of trails to explore? Plenty of cabins and activities to enjoy views like this from our Artist Ambassador, Frank Lee Ruggles. Also, Virginia State Parks are a big supporter of our annual Kids to Parks Day which is on May 20th this year. VA State Parks will have 30+ events at their parks that weekend! Click here to find an event near you for #KidsToParks Day!

See more images from National Park Trust Artist Ambassador Frank Lee Ruggles. Click Here


#FrankFriday – Lincoln Memorial

#FrankFriday – Lincoln Memorial

A beautiful and reflective #FrankFriday photo of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial from NPT Artist Ambassador Frank Lee Ruggles.

See more images from National Park Trust Artist Ambassador Frank Lee Ruggles. Click Here


Senate Passes Bipartisan Resolution Designating May 20 “Kids to Parks Day”

Senate Passes Bipartisan Resolution Designating May 20 “Kids to Parks Day”

U.S. Senate Passes Bipartisan Resolution Designating May 20, 2017, as Kids to Parks Day!

Many thanks to Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and his staff for leading the efforts — with co-sponsorship from Senators Lamar Alexander (R-T N), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rob Portman (R-OH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI). We applaud all of our Senators for their commitment to engage kids of all ages with our country’s parks on May 20th, the 7th annual Kids to Parks Day!

Join National Park Trust and pledge to participate in Kids to Parks Day!


Every Day is Earth Day at National Park Trust

Every Day is Earth Day at National Park Trust

Earth Day is this Saturday and to celebrate our Executive Director, Grace Lee, was invited to write a blog post for Catalogue for Philanthropy. Read her blog below:

Celebrated each year on April 22nd, this year’s Earth Day falls during National Park Week (April 15th through April 23rd). National Park Week is celebrated at more than 400 national park units across the country, many of which are located right in our backyard. Did you know that the White House, National Mall, Rock Creek Park and the C & O Canal all are National Parks?

Earth Day is a time to pause, think, and take action to protect our environment – something that is at the core of the mission of National Park Trust (NPT), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit included in this year’s Catalogue for Philanthropy. For more than 30 years, NPT has worked to protect our national parks locally and across the country. Our mission focuses on preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow.

Read the full blog here.


#FrankFriday – Happy Birthday John Muir!

#FrankFriday – Happy Birthday John Muir!

“Happy Birthday John Muir!”

~ Frank Lee Ruggles, Artist Ambassador

See more images from National Park Trust Artist Ambassador Frank Lee Ruggles. Click Here


#FrankFriday – Hovenweep National Monument

#FrankFriday – Hovenweep National Monument

“Buddy Bison gets an education about the Ancestral Puebloan People who built these amazing structures at Hoveneep National Monument in Colorado! It’s so cool!!!”

~ Frank Lee Ruggles, Artist Ambassador

Hovenweep National Monument, Colorado & Utah

See more images from National Park Trust Artist Ambassador Frank Lee Ruggles. Click Here


#TBT Kids to Parks Day 2013

#TBT Kids to Parks Day 2013

Back in 2013, students from Elsie Whitlow Stokes in Washington DC traveled to Harpers Ferry for Kids to Parks Day. The day was spent at FLOC Outside Education Center which specializes in outdoor education and team building. Here are a few ‘throwback’ photos from that day back in May. #tbt #kidstoparks

  


Junior Ranger Day 2017

Junior Ranger Day 2017

“Explore, Learn, and Protect”

The National Park Service Junior Ranger Program is an activity based program found at most national park units. This is an opportunity for young park visitors to join the NPS “family” as Junior Rangers. Those interested have an opportunity to learn more about the park they are visiting with a series of activities, engagement with park rangers, and an opportunity to receive a Junior Ranger badge/patch or certificate.

This year, National Junior Ranger Day is on Saturday, April 15, 2017 at a national park near you! It also happens to fall during National Park week! That means that fees are waived for your park visit. Click for more information on National Junior Ranger Day and National Park Week 2017.


#FrankFriday – Big Bend National Park

#FrankFriday – Big Bend National Park

“There is no experience I know of that can rival the feeling of watching the sun come up over the horizon, spilling its golden light across the landscape of our National Parks and capturing that moment with a camera. To me…this is the best thing in the world.”

~ Frank Lee Ruggles, Artist Ambassador

Big Bend National Park, Texas #FrankFriday

See more images from National Park Trust Artist Ambassador Frank Lee Ruggles. Click Here


#FrankFriday – Ninini Point Lighthouse

#FrankFriday – Ninini Point Lighthouse

When you have a vision for the perfect shot, sometimes you have to wait on mother nature. Artist Ambassador Frank Lee Ruggles did just that on a recent trip to Hawaii. With 6 consecutive overcast nights, Frank finally got his shot. Check out this beautiful image of  the Ninini Point Lighthouse with the Milky Way Galaxy. Looking good at ISO6400! Have a great weekend! #FrankFriday

See more images from Artist Ambassador Frank Lee Ruggles. Click Here


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!


Kidventurous: Celebrate Kids to Parks Day

Kidventurous: Celebrate Kids to Parks Day

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.

 Photo Credit: Kidventurous


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!

 


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!

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