National Park Trust Blog

2019 Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award Event Program

This June, National Park Trust awarded Senator Richard Burr (NC) with the 19th Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award. Senator Burr was recognized for his numerous accomplishments including his leadership in seeking permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund – a vision he shared with the award’s namesake, Congressman Bruce Vento. Take a look at clips from the award ceremony.

Video Tribute to Senator Burr

 

 

Speech by third grade Buddy Bison Student, Amari Sowah (Washington, DC)

 

 

Speech by fourth grade Buddy Bison Student Morgan Marsh (Washington, DC)

 

 

Speech by fifth grade Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Audrey Elliott (Nebo, NC)

 

 

Award Acceptance, with speeches by NPT Board Chair Bill Brownell, Sue Vento, and Senator Richard Burr.

Saving One of the Most Scenic Views on the Appalachian Trail

On June 21, National Park Trust became the owner of 239 acres of land along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail at Hogan Hollow, near Troutville, VA. Acquiring the land accomplishes two things; it protects a section of the trail, which runs through the property, and helps preserve the scenic view from McAfee Knob. The 3,197-foot knob is considered one of the most popular and most photographed places on the Appalachian Trail, and Hogan Hollow appears in most photographed landscapes taken from there. NPT will donate this land to the National Park Service, protecting it in perpetuity is as part of the park. 

NPT Executive Director Grace Lee said, “We were excited to have been asked by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to join the team with them and The Conservation Fund to preserve this land for future generations.”

The ATC was awarded a grant from the Virginia Outdoor Foundation to make the purchase; the money was part of a legal settlement between Virginia and a company wishing to build a pipeline nearby to make up for the environmental cost of construction.

Have an eco-friendly Independence Day

Have an eco-friendly Independence Day

Check-out our guide to greening your July Fourth festivities

The Fourth marks the perfect time for barbecues, outdoor fun, and fireworks. Unfortunately, Independence Day traditions can also be destructive to our environment. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy all that summer’s biggest celebration has to offer. With a few changes, your July 4th can be festive and eco-friendly!

Gather Outside

Your national parks, local parks, and backyard offer the perfect lighting, temperature, and a green setting for your celebration. The larger a group you gather outside, the less energy you use at individual indoor parties.

  • Make sure to practice Leave No Trace principles like avoiding closed areas that protect wildlife and marine habitat. Pack out and appropriately dispose of all garbage.
  • Consider hosting your barbecue at midday when the light is bright and fills your guests with energy. Or fight the heat by hosting your get together during cooler evening weather. 

BBQ Basics

There are many ways to make this Fourth of July staple easy on our planet.

  • Serve locally grown, pesticide-free fruits and veggies, and choose sustainably raised meat for your grill.
  • Charcoal, while delicious, creates air pollution and poses serious health risks. Consider using propane or electric grills – many retailers will let your trade in your empty propane tank for a discount on your next purchase.
  • Respect any burn bans. If no ban is in place, fires must be at least 100 feet from vegetation and other critical resources.
  • Plastic water bottles may be an easy option, but they create waste and may be bad for your health. Store water and other drinks for guests in large containers so they can refill their reusable cups or bottles. 
  • Use recyclable or reusable tableware to prevent items from going into the landfill. Reuse your patriotic decorations next year, or skip buying decor, and use local flowers for your table.

Skip the Fireworks and Light it Up

Fireworks are an Independence Day tradition along with the fires and fear that they cause for pets and humans. You don’t need the bang of fireworks to have a blast this Fourth.

  • Many cities now host laser shows, and those lights can be used time and time again whereas fireworks can only be used once. 
  • Glow-in-the-dark LED toys can be just as beautiful as fireworks and they keep you away from all the chemicals caused by an explosion. 
  • If you have a fire pit and it is safe, a nice campfire can provide even better ambiance than fireworks
  • If fireworks are a must, gather at your local fireworks display. It’s a great way to see a much larger show and prevents you from harming the environment with your own personal display. 

We hope you celebrate this July Fourth thoughtfully and sustainably!

Atlantic City School Teacher Receives National Award for Her Environmental Leadership

National Park Trust Logo

 

 

 

MEDIA STATEMENT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: William Schrack, William@parktrust.org, 301-279-7275 x20

From L to R: Lesette Nikki Jackson, Caesars HERO Community Relations; Buddy Bison, NPT Mascot; Yolanda Smith; and Grace Lee, NPT Executive Director.

Washington, DC (June 18, 2019) – National Park Trust (NPT) is pleased to announce that Yolanda Smith, a fifth-grade teacher from Richmond Avenue School in Atlantic City, NJ, is the recipient of National Park Trust’s 2019 National Educator Award for Outstanding Environmental Stewardship.

Thanks to sponsorship from the Caesars Foundation as well as local property support, Richmond Avenue has been able to participate in NPT’s national Buddy Bison School Program since 2013. Yolanda has served as the lead teacher for the multi-year partnership. Over the course of her involvement in the program, Yolanda has developed and implemented an in-depth advanced science program and created a customized curriculum that uses parks as outdoor classrooms. Yolanda also developed her own learning objectives for each park field trip to ensure that all of her students walked away with knowledge gained from their hands-on experiences.

In 2014, Yolanda’s classroom participated in the first ever Buddy Bison Carbon Reduction Contest which aims to teach elementary school children how to identify, measure, and reduce their impact on the environment. Each year, students from different schools take nine different action items included in NPT’s contest toolkit to reduce their carbon footprint. Yolanda’s class won the 2017 Carbon Reduction Contest; they prevented 956 lbs of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the air.

Yolanda Smith accepting her award from Grace Lee, Executive Director of National Park Trust.

Furthermore, Yolanda’s classroom initiatives not only taught her students the tangible impact of their carbon footprint but also led the way to energy-saving improvements school-wide, reducing their energy bill by $100,000. This remarkable development was noticed by the school district, resulting in changes that led to an $800,000 energy cost savings for their entire school district.

Yolanda Smith showing her award to one of her students.

Through the Buddy Bison program and its Carbon Reduction Contest, all of her students have learned how to reduce their carbon footprint and educate others. “We may be molding the next Neil deGrasse Tyson or Albert Einstein,” noted Yolanda as she talked about the impact she has seen on her students. “The possibilities are endless with the knowledge and exposure they have gained. We have taken part in training the next generation of young minds, ready to excel as environmental stewards leading us into the next millennium.”

“We were delighted to honor and recognize Yolanda Smith from Richmond Avenue School with our 2019 National Educator Award. Over the years she has gone above and beyond to connect her Buddy Bison students with the numerous benefits of the great outdoors. These students will be the future stewards of our parks,” stated NPT Executive Director Grace Lee.

“Participating in this program is truly a highlight for our HERO volunteers,” said Lesette Nikki Jackson. “The opportunity to create a new memorable experience for children is its own reward. Yolanda has made environmental education a priority for the students and staff of Richmond Avenue School, creating a positive ripple effect in the community. She has literally opened doors for city kids to go outside and experience all that nature has to offer. Watching the transformation when the students realize playing is an engaging experience and not just an app on a screen is an inspiration. We are excited to see what the future holds for these students and this great program.

 

ABOUT NATIONAL PARK TRUST

National Park Trust (NPT) is a non-profit dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. NPT is the only land trust with a comprehensive mission of protecting national parks through land acquisition and creating a pipeline of future park stewards by getting kids to parks. Since 1983, NPT has completed 70 land projects in 31 states, 1 US Territory, and Washington, DC. This school year, NPT will provide an estimated 20,000 under-served kids with park trips through their nationally recognized Buddy Bison Programs and Kids to Parks Day National School Contest, both of which support Title I schools.

Find out more at www.parktrust.org.

 

ABOUT CAESARS FOUNDATION

Caesars Foundation is a private foundation funded by a portion of operating income from resorts owned or operated by Caesars Entertainment. The Foundation is the entity through which Caesars Entertainment funds programs and projects of $10,000 or more, as well as not for-profit giving requirements imposed by certain operating jurisdictions. The Foundation’s objective is to strengthen organizations and programs in the communities where our employees and their families live and work.

To learn more, visit www.caesarsfoundation.com.

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NPT News June Update

Did you know everyone lives in a shed? A watershed, that is! Nearly 800 Buddy Bison students recently learned that a watershed is an area of land where all the water – creeks, streams, even runoff from roads – flows into one large body of water. A big Buddy Bison round of applause to the Bunting Family, Tom and Kathy Hewitt, the Washington Duke Inn, and Georgia-Pacific Foundation for making these trips possible.

 

Beacon Heights Elementary (MD) 5th graders visited the Washington Youth Garden (DC) at the U.S. National Arboretum. They used their five senses to explore both the garden and the “Fern Valley” exhibit where they experienced what their neighborhood would be like if left untouched by humans. Plus, volunteers from Pepco joined us to help out including Pepco Region President, Donna Cooper.

 

 

Frederick Elementary (MD) and Neval Thomas Elementary (DC) 3rd graders spent their morning at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center discovering the amazing adaptations of oysters and the essential role these filter feeders play in the health of the Bay. The students from Frederick then learned how to find geocaches on a hike around the park, and Neval Thomas used dip nets to explore the bay for creatures!

 

 

Powe Elementary 2nd graders and The Emily K Center (NC) journeyed to Falls Lake State Recreation Area where they met up with Frog Hollow Outfitters, Sarah P. Duke Gardens, and state park rangers for a day of canoeing, hiking, and fishing! They learned several different ways to enjoy the lake while preserving it for other people to enjoy.

 

 

M. Agnes Jones Elementary (GA) explored the unique ecosystems of Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve. Using dip-nets, they caught aquatic animals in one of the park’s vernal pools, determining that the water was pretty healthy. Plus, they hiked to the top of the mountain!

 

 

Four schools that are part of the 100% Project in Baltimore went to Oregon Ridge Nature Center (MD) and investigated the different bodies of water in the park. They performed “stream studies” on each one to figure out how healthy they were. All the kids returned home with a better idea of how their own actions affect their water. HERO volunteers from Caesar’s Foundation joined us to help out, not just in Baltimore, but with schools across the country this spring, from SAGE Center in Missouri and Metropolis Elementary in Illinois, to Pennsylvania Avenue Elementary in New Jersey.

 

 

Nothing says summer like a campfire and s’mores! Because of a generous gift from the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, 250 Buddy Bison students from the Washington, DC area had their first camping experience.

Howard University Middle, Woodbridge Public Charter, and Stuart-Hobson Middle all traveled to Prince William Forest Park (VA) where staff from NatureBridge led them in discovering the park. These kids didn’t just hike, they also practiced their scientific inquiry skills and collected data points and samples for the National Park Service.

 

 

Washington School for Girls, West Education Campus, and Stuart-Hobson Middle trekked to Hemlock Overlook Regional Park in Northern Virginia. There, they practiced their team-building skills on ropes courses both low and high, as well as explored the local ecology.

 

 

E.W. Stokes Public Charter visited Calvert Cliffs State Park in southern Maryland. There, they sent up camp, hunted for fossils on the beach, and learned about the 40 million-year-old creatures they could find.

 

 

 

 

Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Tigran shares how he tested his skills on a 100-mile journey through Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Find out what he learned on his most challenging outdoor experience ever and how he is starting a new chapter with NPT—as an Ambassador Alumni! Read about his journey here.

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument Changing Landscapes

We arrived at night; it was a desert mesa with a canyon in the distance. The signs of erosion and change were all around us. No campground tonight, no facilities, just a tarp on the ground under the clear night sky.

We had been traveling all day by van and my team was excited. Buddy Bison peeked up from the seat and I hauled my pack out of the van.  We were off on a 100-mile backpacking trip through the Escalante River in Southern Utah. My group was the most experienced outdoors team at Ojai Valley School Lower Campus, 8 students and two teachers. The 100-mile trip is the most challenging of the outdoor experiences at Lower Campus and I knew I wanted to be part of this team from our very first outdoor trip in first grade. Everyone hikes and everyone camps at my school. You learn a lot about yourself and your friends.

This is my last year at Ojai Valley School (OVS) Lower Campus and my last year as a Buddy Bison Student Ambassador. Buddy Bison Ambassadors serve from 4th grade until the end of 8th grade. I am not sure what the future will hold for me at OVS Upper Campus but I am excited that I will continue working with National Park Trust as an Alumni Ambassador. In this new role, I will continue to educate children and families across the country about the benefits of our parks as I travel with Buddy Bison to new and exciting places. I also look forward to representing National Park Trust at youth leadership summits!

My outdoor experiences at Ojai Valley School have taught me many important lessons, and have allowed me to try many new things. For example, the 100-mile trip was my first time ever pack rafting. Pack rafting is when you put all of your supplies in an inflatable raft and paddle down the river. Even here we face the unexpected, the river level dropped just before we arrived so there was a lot of wading and scampering over gravel bars and mud. It was very fun, but there were also some risks and not everything went well. During one rapid, my backpack was torn open, and my raft started leaking; however, it was one of the most fun things we did on the entire trip. It is important to accept change and take some risks. It is good to go a little outside your comfort zone on an adventure.

 

This Kids to Parks Day, I volunteered at Channel Islands National Park. It was really fun, and I was lucky enough to meet Colton Smith from Rock the Park, and Robbie from Kids Speak for Parks. We had over nine hundred visitors including 120 kids!

This is my last article for the National Park Trust as the first Buddy Bison Student Ambassador, but I’m excited to start the new role as an Alumni Ambassador! You will still see and hear from me, I promise. Follow the other Student Buddy Bison ambassadors at parktrust.org.

Buddy Bison’s Buzz May Update

6th graders from Aberdeen Middle School (ID) with their new Hydro Flask water bottles.

Thanks to Hydro Flask and their “Parks for All” program, 50 Title I schools were awarded park grants as winners of our Kids to Parks Day School Contest.  And ten of these lucky grant winners also received their very own Hydro Flask water bottles, all sporting our shiny logo! Our students will be well-hydrated as they explore parks all over the country, from Niagara Falls to Yellowstone National Park. Find out how Aberdeen Middle School’s 6th graders from Idaho will be enjoying AND helping Yellowstone on their Kids to Parks Day trip.  At Yellowstone, they’ll learn about the park’s geothermal activity and help park rangers clean up litter surrounding the Morning Glory pool. 

Thanks Hydro Flask, for helping us drink plenty of water when we explore outdoors!


Each of our 4 Buddy Bison Student Ambassadors are hosting Kids to Parks Day events across the country. Join them and you could win special Jr Ranger gear thanks to our partner Eastern National. As an added bonus, each ambassador will also have a specially made National Park Trust Passport Cancellation Stamp available for collectors of all ages.

Ambassador Tigran will be at Channel Islands National Park, CA on Saturday, May 18. You can join him to participate in a beach clean up at Ventura Harbor Cove, or enjoy ranger-led programs, citizen science projects, and/or a scavenger hunt at the Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center.

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Ambassador Sarah who kicked off Kids to Parks Day at Castle Clinton National Monument in NYC on Thursday, May 16th! Sarah joined PBS Kids’ Nature Cat for a welcome celebration, and enjoyed several special education stations as kids completed their Jr Ranger Program.

 

 

 

 

Ambassador Bryan will be at Pecos National Historical Park, NM on Saturday, May 18th to host some  family events that range from a Yucca Sandal Making Workshop to a presentation by New Mexico Wildlife Center.

 

 

 

 

Ambassador Audrey will be at the Asheville (Milepost 384) Visitor Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway, NC on Saturday, May 18th. Stop in to meet Audrey, explore the visitor center and complete your Junior Ranger Program.

Senate Passes Bipartisan “Kids to Parks Day” Resolution

For Immediate Release: May 8, 2019

Contact: Nicole L’Esperance (Wyden) 202-224-3789

Kevin Smith (Portman) 202-224-3353

Christina Mandreucci (Alexander) 202-224-4944

Aaron Morales (Heinrich) 202-228-1578

Will Dempster (Hirono) 202-224-9813

Kristin Lynch (Booker) 202-224-8378

Senate Passes Bipartisan “Kids to Parks Day” Resolution

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Cory Booker, D-N.J., applauded the passage of their bipartisan resolution, which encourages children to get outdoors by designating May 18, 2019 National Kids to Parks Day.

First celebrated by the National Park Trust in 2011, the ninth annual Kids to Parks Day marks the beginning of a summer-long series of events at state parks countrywide that promote outdoor recreation and active, healthy living. The Senate passed the resolution by unanimous consent yesterday.

“Love for outdoor recreation is in Oregon’s DNA,” Wyden said. “Oregonians pass on that appreciation of our natural resources and enjoyment of the outdoors from generation to generation. Kids to Parks Day is another important way to connect our young folks to the richness of the outdoors and enjoy all that Oregon and states across the country have to offer.”

“It is important that we encourage younger generations to enjoy and experience the outdoors, and as a frequent visitor to our national parks I’m pleased that thousands of kids in Ohio will be visiting and learning about these national treasures on Kids to Parks Day,” Portman said. “I am proud to support the Kids to Parks Day Resolution to encourage more young people and their families to visit our treasured national parks.”

“In the age of technology, our national parks are more important now than ever before. Growing up in Maryville, Tennessee, which is next to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I was able to take advantage of our country’s natural beauty and learn history in a place where history comes alive. It is my hope that children across the country take the time to celebrate Kids to Parks Day on May 18 and create memories of their own,” Alexander said.

“Our national parks offer endless opportunities for kids to discover, learn, and play,” said Heinrich whose bipartisan legislation, the Every Kid Outdoors Act, was signed into law earlier this year. “Connecting kids to the outdoors, whether it is playing in the local park down the street or exploring Carlsbad Caverns National Park, can inspire the next generation of conservationists, while reaping all of the health benefits that go along with an active lifestyle. I encourage New Mexico families to take advantage of Kids to Parks Day and visit our treasured public lands.”

“With over 50 state and national parks in Hawaii, our resolution encourages keiki to get outdoors and stay active. Our parks offer an important opportunity for our next generation to explore and learn how natural resources contribute to Hawaii’s rich cultural heritage,” Hirono said. “By designating May 18 as National Kids to Parks Day, we can help instill in our keiki the importance of healthy outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship for years to come.”

“In New Jersey, and all across the country, our parks are a national treasure that allow Americans to immerse themselves in our natural environment and the great outdoors,” Booker said. “Kids to Parks Day encourages kids and families to enjoy our state and national parks, while helping instill a love and appreciation for the great outdoors among the next generation.”

More than 1 million people participated in last year’s Kids to Parks Day, according to the National Park Trust.

This year’s Kids to Parks Day will be celebrated Saturday, May 18, 2019. To find a list of events near you, click here.

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Students Reduce Carbon Footprint and Win $1,500

Lake Tahoe Environmental Science Magnet School Students Win National Award

Originally published on April 26, 2019 by South Tahoe Now.

MEYERS, Calif. – Fourth graders in Alissa Behrendt’s class at Lake Tahoe Environmental Science Magnet School (LTESMS) just became one of the three top classes in the nation after participating in the Buddy Bison Carbon Reduction Contest.

Photo by Audra Naccarato

For their efforts, the class was given $1,500!

For ten weeks the students reduced their carbon footprint by cutting back on their use of electricity, unplugging items Sponsor of the contest, the National Parks Trust, sent weekly emails to the class, giving them a topic and suggested activities. They learned about conservation, sustainability, and environmental stewardship.

The students also created posters about reducing their carbon footprint.

Ms. Behrendt said it was all on the kids to make it work. They received bonus points for taking what they learned at school and put it to use at home. The students tracked their activities, collected data and submitted it to the National Parks Trust.

“The team members of Harrah’s and Harveys Lake Tahoe are grateful to the Caesars Foundation and the National Parks Trust for providing this wonderful opportunity to the 4th-grade students at LTESMS. Through their commitment to the stewardship of our planet, these bright young students exemplify the hope of a safe and healthy planet for generations to come,” said the local casino representatives. Some of their staff helped the students celebrate their recognition.

Photo by Audra Naccarato

A school in Illinois and another in Pennsylvania were the other winners.

The students will be using their prize money to help fund their field trip to “Great Basin Outdoors,” and camp in eastern Nevada.

Kids to Parks Day Contest Winners Skype with White House

United class distance learning via Skype with White House

Originally published on April 18, 2019 by Daily Review Atlas, written by Jeff Holt

MONMOUTH — History is going to be made today at United West Elementary School.

Kindergarten teacher Emily Higbee and her students will be Skyping with the White House — the first time this has ever been done.

“We are going to be the first in the nation to have distance learning with the White House,” Higbee said.

The White House and surrounding grounds constitute a national park, which will be the focus of the lesson.

“It’s called the President’s Park,” Higbee said. “I am not shocked, having done distance learning in the past. Distance learning is available through most national parks and monuments. It is connecting these kids to the world that is literally at their fingertips. I have a class of 18 amazing kids who are taking a journey. The two words I’m really proud of them knowing is to preserve and to protect.”

Higbee has made sure her students are quite familiar with the likes of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States who is an icon in the National Park Service.

“We talk about everything from the president to their animals,” Higbee said. “My kids already know their is an Oval Office and they understand the first lady is married to the president, and that the White House once burned down and had to be rebuilt again.”

Higbee said that after the Skyping today, her students will receive an official Junior Ranger certificate.

United Technology Coordinator Trish Bertelsen also played a key role in making this happen, acquiring picture books for the students in Higbee’s classroom to help familiarize them even more with pictures of the White House.

And for the alphabet, Higbee said she has tied it in with her students. For example, for the letter “s” she said it stands for Statue of Liberty.

“I’m excited for them to experience everything they are learning in the classroom,” Higbee said.

Higbee, in her fifth year as a teacher at United West, said she grew up going to national parks as a kid with her family. So, the kids in her classroom were able to make homemade passports.

“I’m hoping to instill a core memory (for the kids),” Higbee said. “It’s the first for everybody.”

Another unique thing that Higbee has implemented into her teaching is “table talk.” It can be at home over dinner or in their car with their parents.

“Family is very important here at United,” Higbee said. “Just having conversation and bouncing off thoughts and talking about their day.”

Higbee and her students will also be going to Starved Rock State Park on May 24. That will be their Stewardship Project. They were one of the winners of the Kids to Parks Day National School Contest. The National Park Trust (NPT) provided them with a scholarship to help make it happen. They were given a classroom Buddy Bison and Buddy Bison T-shirts to wear on that day.

From Corporate America to the Classroom: Teacher Awarded Fellowship with National Park Trust

Washington, DC (April 16, 2019) – National Park Trust (NPT) is pleased to announce that Chelsea Vines, a 3rd-grade teacher from M. Agnes Jones Elementary School in Atlanta, GA, has been selected as NPT’s Youth Programs Fellow.

As a two-year fellow, Ms. Vines will serve as an education advisor to the NPT Board of Trustees as a member of the board’s youth programs committee. She will also participate in board meetings including an annual fall meeting in a national park.

NPT has worked closely with Ms. Vines since 2014, when M. Agnes Jones was welcomed into its national Buddy Bison School Program to provide outdoor environmental education for their 3rd grade students—thanks to a multi-year sponsorship from the Georgia-Pacific Foundation.

Prior to becoming a teacher, Ms. Vines was a financial services manager for a major Fortune 500 corporation in Atlanta; however in 2005 she decided to leave the corporate world in search of something more personally fulfilling. She was selected as a 2006 Teach for America Corps Member and upon completion of their rigorous summer institute, she was placed as a 1st-grade teacher at M. Agnes Jones Elementary, a Title I school in downtown Atlanta where over 98% of the students receive free or reduced-price lunch. Over the years, while she has changed grade levels within the school, she has always been passionate about providing new enriching opportunities for her students.

“I’m honored to be named the newest National Park Trust Youth Programs Fellow,” noted Ms. Vines. “NPT continues to give our students the opportunity to see and experience their community in a different light.  NPT provides real-life experiences for kids who would only ‘see’ what they learn in a textbook.”

Because of the support from the Georgia-Pacific Foundation, Ms. Vines has been able to incorporate environmental education, outdoor recreation, and stewardship—the 3 pillars of the Buddy Bison School Program—into every aspect of her classroom. She was integral in securing STEM accreditation for her school as part of a committee of teachers who worked to inspire others by incorporating STEM lessons across the curriculum.  Thanks to the efforts of that committee, M. Agnes Jones was the first school in Atlanta to receive full STEM accreditation, and most recently STEAM, accreditation.

“Students’ lives have changed significantly through inspirational teachers such as Ms. Vines and the impactful programs offered through NPT,” said JaKathryn Ross, Georgia-Pacific’s Senior Director of Community Affairs.  “Georgia-Pacific is proud to be a long-standing supporter of the Buddy Bison School Program and educators in our community.”

Ms. Vines has witnessed first-hand the difference that an outdoor education can have in allowing students to learn in their own way. In 2018, one of her students was completely non-verbal, but when he had the opportunity to learn about farming by harvesting radishes at Serenbe Farms during one of the Buddy Bison field trips, he surprised everyone by exclaiming with glee, “Look! I have a radish!”

Because of her extraordinary efforts to connect her students with the benefits of the great outdoors, Ms. Vines was also the recipient of NPT’s 2018 National Educator Award for Outstanding Environmental Stewardship.

“With her unique background and dedication to surrounding her students with STEM education opportunities, she is an ideal teacher to become NPT’s newest fellow,” added Billy Schrack, director of youth programs at National Park Trust. “She ties her classroom into the wider world and provides a rich experience for every student.”

 

ABOUT NATIONAL PARK TRUST

National Park Trust (NPT) is a non-profit dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. NPT is the only land trust with a comprehensive mission of protecting national parks through land acquisition and creating a pipeline of future park stewards by getting kids to parks. Since 1983, NPT has completed 70 land projects in 31 states, 1 US Territory, and Washington, DC. This school year, NPT will provide an estimated 25,000 under-served kids with park trips through their nationally recognized Buddy Bison Programs and Kids to Parks Day National School Contest, both of which support Title I schools.

Find out more at www.parktrust.org.

 

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Buddy Bison’s Buzz April Update

What’s greater than going to parks? Saving parks! National Park Trust teamed up with Caesars Foundation to host a “Carbon Reduction Contest” at three schools across the country.

Together, we worked with the students to reduce their carbon footprints and conserve water. In turn, that will help our parks last into the future. The students tackled nine different action items, including reducing their use of paper, energy, and single-use plastic bottles. Plus, they were challenged to switch to reusable grocery bags and to take a look at how their food choices affect their environmental impact.

Thanks to their efforts, 16,321 pounds of greenhouse gases were prevented from being released into the atmosphere (that’s the same amount that 250 trees could do in 10 years). 3,406 pounds of trash were also kept from entering landfills, which is roughly equal to the weight of 3 grizzly bear families. Then by opting to eat less meat and making wiser meat choices, students saved 300,334 gallons of water, equivalent to the weight of 8.5 blue whales!

 

Their reward? Besides the satisfaction that they are stewarding the Earth, each participating school received a fully-funded school trip to a local park. The winner of the contest took home the biggest reward! This year, Chester Community Charter (PA) placed third, Franklin Elementary (IN) took second, and Lake Tahoe Environmental Magnet School (CA) was the overall winner. Congratulations to all our students!

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s give a warm Buddy Bison welcome to one of our newest corporate partners, Lincoln Electric! They are now sponsoring park experiences for St. Ignatius Loyola Academy and Mt. Washington School. Both are under-served schools in Baltimore, MD. This month, they both enjoyed eye-opening adventures outdoors! We are so thankful for Lincoln Electric’s support of these future park stewards!

St. Ignatius Loyola Academy (MD) 5th graders at Patapsco Valley State Park (MD).

Spring has sprung at Patapsco Valley State Park (MD). This month 5th graders from St. Ignatius Loyola Academy (Baltimore, MD) explored the Hollifield area of Patapsco, and hiked along the Union Dam trail. While the dam no longer stands, students learned about the milling history of the Patapsco River and saw where the Union Dam once stood. They also examined the environmental impact of dams, and why the Park is removing many of the remaining dams to help improve the river’s health.

After the hike, students met a Park Ranger from the Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources for a “Scales and Tales” program. During the presentations, students met a barn owl, a crow, and a black vulture, and learned why all three animals are in the park’s care. Highlights of the program included hearing all the silly sounds the crow and make, and seeing the black vulture spread her wings wide open.

Mt. Washington School (MD) 8th graders in Harpers Ferry (WV).

Eighth graders from Mt. Washington School in Baltimore, MD journeyed almost an hour and a half to visit the park Thomas Jefferson described as “worth a voyage across the Atlantic” to see! Harpers Ferry National Historical Park includes the historic town of Harper’s Ferry and the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. “Confluence” simply means a place where two rivers come together.

There, they discovered the historical events that took place  250 years ago by playing a competitive game of truth or fiction. For example, Holland’s team (pictured above, center right)  learned that the nation’s very first armory was built in Harper’s Ferry because of the town’s abundant natural resources – like water for both transport and power!

They also hiked to Jefferson Rock, through the historic cemetery, then to Storer College, one of the first colleges to accept students of all genders and races.

Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Audrey from North Carolina made the most of her spring break this year by visiting lots of parks! Join her adventures to see which national battlefield is home to the site where the Patriots won the first major battle of the American Revolution.

Manchin, Gardner, Cantwell and Burr Lead Bipartisan Bill to Permanently Fund LWCF

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sam Runyon (Manchin) Sam_Runyon@energy.senate.gov 202-224-3907
Jerrod Dobkin (Gardner) Jerrod_Dobkin@gardner.senate.gov 202-228-5800
Bryan Watt (Cantwell) Bryan_Watt@cantwell.senate.gov 202-224-8277
Caitlin Carroll (Burr) Caitlin_Carroll@burr.senate.gov 202-228-1616

MANCHIN, GARDNER, CANTWELL AND BURR LEAD BIPARTISAN BILL TO PERMANENTLY FUND LWCF

Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act makes $900 million available each year 

Washington, DC – (April 9, 2019) Today, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Cory Gardner (R-CO) led a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act legislation to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at a level of $900 million. Manchin and Gardner were joined by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Richard Burr (R-NC), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Jon Tester (D-MT), Steve Daines (R-MT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Susan Collins (R-ME), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Angus King (I-ME).

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is responsible for the acquisition of some of West Virginia’s most treasured lands. The Gauley River National Recreation Area, Monongahela National Forest and Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge are just a few examples of areas that benefited from LWCF funds. With 54 of our 55 counties having received LWCF investments at some point, the benefits of LWCF can truly be felt across the Mountain State. I’m proud to lead this bipartisan bill that will finally fund LWCF at the intended levels so we can continue to preserve, protect and invest in our public lands,” Senator Manchin said.

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is the crown jewel of conservation programs and now that we have successfully permanently authorized the program, the next step is to make the funding of the program automatic,” said Senator Gardner. “Colorado projects rely on LWCF funding and fighting year after year about how much money to provide the program does not provide the long-term planning certainty our outdoor and conservation communities deserve. This is a commonsense, bipartisan program that comes at no cost to the taxpayer, and it is time Congress fully and permanently funds this critical conservation program so future generations of Coloradans will have access to our great outdoors.”

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is the preeminent tool to increase access to our nation’s beloved public lands. Now we need to build on our recent success to permanently extend the program by making sure the funding is mandatory and the program gets fully funded every year,” said Senator Cantwell. “The LWCF gives local communities the tools and resources needed to manage public lands, to provide more access to our lands and waters, and to do the things that will help us grow jobs and persevere against a very challenging and threatening climate.”

“From the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks, North Carolina’s parks and lands have benefited immensely from the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” Senator Burr said. “I am proud this popular and effective program has finally been made permanent, but we still have to make sure it has the resources necessary to carry out its important work. This bill permanently secures adequate funding for LWCF – without costing American taxpayers a dime.”

As part of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which was enacted into law last month (Public Law 116-9), Congress permanently authorized the LWCF. However, expenditures from the LWCF continue to be subject to federal appropriations. The Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act would remove the requirement that the LWCF funds must be appropriated. Instead for the first time, makes $900 million available each year without needing to be appropriated.

LWCF provides funding for additions to national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests and other federal public lands used for outdoor recreation and habitat preservation. The LWCF also funds important projects that protect drinking water resources, sensitive habitat for fish and wildlife, and private forestland. The LWCF provides matching grants to states and localities for investments in outdoor recreation facilities, such as parks and ballfields, and helps protect threatened battlefield sites.

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund has connected millions of Americans with unrivaled outdoor experiences and conserved essential wildlife habitat across the nation for the past half century. Its permanent reauthorization was an important first step, but fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund is an essential next step to keep nature and wildlife within reach for future generations,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “This bipartisan legislation deserves swift consideration and passage.”

“This is one of the smartest investments Congress can make,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “The Land and Water Conservation Fund has made a lasting impact in every state in America, spurring increased access and more recreational opportunity. This legislation will send meaningful resources to ground that benefit hunters and anglers for generations to come.”

“We know that connecting with nature is linked to stronger communities and improved health, and the introduction of a bill that would fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund is terrific news,” said Diane Regas, President and CEO of The Trust for Public Land. “Full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund would mean more access to nature for more people in every state in our country. I want to thank Senators Manchin and Gardner for their strong support of this critical program.”

“We took a big leap toward securing LWCF’s future with the passage of S. 47, which permanently reauthorizes the program. Yet more work remains to be done – specifically ensuring LWCF’s full and dedicated funding. To that end, I want to thank Sen. Manchin for working in a bipartisan fashion and championing legislation that would fully dedicate funds to LWCF and guarantee funding for projects that increase hunting and fishing access on public lands and waters all across the country. Passage of this bill would take us across the finish line,” said Land Tawney, president and CEO, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.

“In February, Congress made a promise to the American people: our country’s best conservation program is here to stay. Permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund was a major win for the preservation of public lands across the country, ensuring that we will always have a critical tool for expanding national parks, protecting watersheds and creating new outdoor recreation opportunities for communities eager to get into the outdoors,” said Kameran Onley, director of U.S. Government Relations at The Nature Conservancy. “Today’s funding bill will fulfill the rest of that promise, ensuring LWCF will always have the full and dedicated funding it needs to continue conserving our treasured natural landscapes. We urge lawmakers to work together in the same bipartisan spirit that made permanent reauthorization a reality and do the same for funding for LWCF.”

To learn more about the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act click here.

To read the legislation text in full click here.

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Kids to Parks Day Giveaways

National Park Trust is excited to announce our 2019 Kids to Parks Day Giveaways! This year our partners are providing excellent prizes to help you and your family get outside and engaged on Kids to Parks Day and everyday. If you plan to participate in Kids to Parks Day by getting outside you are eligible to win outdoor gear prize packs from partners like The North Face, Parks Project, Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, Eastern National, National Geographic Kids, and more!

Outdoor Gear Prizes from:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pledge to participate in Kids to Parks Day and you could win an outdoor gear prize pack!

Pledge Now

Pledge Now

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Contest Rules


How to Win

  • Register to Participate by filling out our easy form above
  • Tag Us and Use #KidstoParks on Instagram or send your photo to kidstoparksday@parktrust.org (Please note, if you have a private Instagram account you must email us your photo because we will not be able to see your tag)

 

Buddy Bison Giveaway

No park trip is complete without your very own Buddy Bison! Buddy is our loveable mascot that encourages kids of all ages to explore outdoors. Complete with a carabiner, he is ready for any kind of outdoor adventure. When you participate in the Kids to Parks Day giveaway and share your tagged photos on Instagram, you will be automatically entered to win a Buddy Bison if your photo is the best in one of the following categories:

Best 2019 Kids to Parks Day Photo
Best 2019 Kids to Parks Day Group Photo
Best 2019 Kids to Parks Day Stewardship Photo
Best 2019 Kids to Parks Day Boomerang
Best 2019 Kids to Parks Day Pet in a Park Photo

 


Contest Rules

ELIGIBILITY: Applicants must be registered to participate in Kids to Parks Day at www.kidstoparks.org by May 18, 2019 and tag or share their #KidstoParks photo with National Park Trust by Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 11:59pm PST. If the applicant does not tag or share their photo on Instagram they may also send it via email to: kidstoparks@parktrust.org. This contest is not sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Instagram. The contest is open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia. Void where prohibited by law. The contest is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws.

HOW TO ENTER: Visit www.kidstoparks.org and follow the directions provided to complete the online registration form to receive one (1) entry. Limit of one (1) entry per person using only one (1) email address through out the contest period. Eligibility of individual entries will be at the sole discretion of National Park Trust, for any reason or for no reason, though specific reasons for disqualification may include use of inappropriate language or visuals. National Park Trust is not responsible for and will not consider incomplete or incorrect entries. Entries generated by script, macro, mechanical or other automated means and entries by any means which subvert the entry process are void. Multiple entries received from any person in excess of the stated limitation will be void. All entries become the sole property of the Sponsor and will not be returned.

RANDOM DRAWING: Winners for the outdoor gear prize packs will be selected in a random drawing held within 1 week of contest end date from among all eligible entries received and combined throughout the Contest Period. Odds of winning one of the prize packs depend on the number of eligible entries received throughout the Contest Period.

BUDDY BISON DRAWING: Winners for the Buddy Bison giveaways will be selected at the discretion of National Park Trust within 1 week of contest end date.

WINNER NOTIFICATION: Winners of all contests will be contacted at the “entry” email address used to enter the contest, and the person receiving and replying to the winner announcement email will be considered the winner unless they specify another person within the reply email as the winner. National Park Trust will mail the contest prize to the address supplied by the recipient of the winner announcement email. Claiming of prizes requires an email response to National Park Trust from the winning sender email address within 10 days of being notified of winning at the email address used to enter. Failure to respond shall mean that the winner forfeits the prize.

SUBMISSION OF PHOTO, TEXT OR OTHER CONTENT FOR contest: Entries selected for display and to win “best of” contests and any other contests requiring photo, text or other content from the entrants will be judged entirely at the discretion of National Park Trust.

By submitting any photo or information to National Park Trust, you hereby grant to National Park Trust and its affiliates, subsidiaries, licensees and assigns, an irrevocable, perpetual and royalty-free right to use, reproduce, edit, display, transmit, prepare derivative works of, modify, publish and otherwise make use of the submitted photo or other information in any and all media, whether now known or hereinafter created, throughout the world and for any purpose. In addition to other things, the rights granted to National Park Trust includes but is not limited to the right to resize, crop, censor, compress, edit, feature, caption, affix logos to, and to otherwise alter or make use of the submitted photo. By submitting any photo or information to National Park Trust, you hereby represent and warrant that the submitted photo or information does not and shall not infringe on any copyright, any rights of privacy or publicity of any person, or any other right of any third party, and you have the right to grant any and all rights and licenses granted to National Park Trust herein, including but not limited to all necessary rights under copyright, free and clear of any claims or encumbrances.

You acknowledge and agree that National Park Trust shall have no obligation to post, display or otherwise make publicly available any photo or information submitted by you, and may, in its sole and unfettered discretion, remove, edit, modify or delete any photo or information that you submit to National Park Trust.

You understand and intend that any photo or information submitted by you to National Park Trust may be available for viewing, rating, review and comment on by the public, and understand that comments or ratings with which you disagree or are unhappy about may be published or otherwise become associated with any photo or information you submit to National Park Trust. By submitting any photo or information to National Park Trust, you hereby waive any privacy expectations that you may have with respect to any such photo or information submitted by you to National Park Trust.

You hereby agree to hold National Park Trust and its affiliates, subsidiaries, licensees sponsors and assigns harmless from and against, and hereby waive any right to pursue, any claims of any nature arising in connection with the inclusion in, publication via or display on any National Park Trust site, or any other use authorized under these Terms, of any photo or information submitted to National Park Trust by you.

Photos or information submitted by you to the Site shall be the property of National Park Trust, and National Park Trust shall have no obligation to preserve, return or otherwise make available to you or others any photos or information so submitted.

INSTAGRAM: Promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram.

GENERAL CONDITIONS: By participating, each entrant agrees: (a) to abide by these Official Rules and decisions of Sponsor, which shall be final in all respects relating to this contest; (b) to release, discharge and hold harmless Sponsor, and their respective parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, and advertising and contest agencies, and the respective officers, directors, shareholders, employees, agents and representatives of the foregoing (collectively, “Released Parties”) from any and all injuries, liability, losses and damages of any kind to persons, including death, or property resulting, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from entrant’s participation in the contest or the acceptance, possession, use or misuse of any awarded prize (or portion thereof), including any/all travel/activity related thereto; and (c) to the use of his/her name, address (city and state), voice, performance, photograph, image and/or other likeness for programming, advertising, publicity, trade and promotional purposes in any and all media, now or hereafter known, worldwide and on the Internet, and in perpetuity by Sponsor and its designees, without compensation (unless prohibited by law) or additional consents from entrant or any third party and without prior notice, approval or inspection, and to execute specific consent to such use if asked to do so.

In the event of a dispute regarding entries received from multiple users having the same e-mail account, the authorized subscriber of the e-mail account at the time of entry will be deemed to be the entrant and must comply with these Official Rules. Authorized account subscriber is the natural person who is assigned the e-mail address by the Internet Service Provider (ISP), on-line service provider, or other organization responsible for assigning e-mail addresses. Released Parties not responsible for any technical problems, malfunctions of any telephone lines, computer systems, servers, providers, hardware/software, lost or unavailable network connections or failed, incomplete, garbled or delayed computer transmission or any combination thereof. Released Parties are not responsible for late, lost, damaged, misdirected, incomplete, undeliverable, destroyed, garbled, postage-due, illegible, inaccurate, delayed or stolen entries or mail; or for lost, interrupted or unavailable network, server, Internet Service Provider (ISP), website, or other connections, availability or accessibility or miscommunications or failed computer, satellite, telephone or cable transmissions, lines, or technical failure or jumbled, scrambled, delayed, or misdirected transmissions or computer hardware or software malfunctions, failures or difficulties, or other errors or difficulties of any kind whether typographical, human mechanical, electronic, computer, network, printing or otherwise relating to or in connection with the contest, including, without limitation, errors or difficulties which may occur in connection with the administration of the contest, the processing of entries or mail, the announcement of the prize or in any contest-related materials. Released Parties are also not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by site users, tampering, hacking, or by any equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the contest. Released Parties are not responsible for injury or damage to entrants’ or to any other person’s computer related to or resulting from participating in this contest or downloading materials from or use of the website. Sponsor may disqualify anyone from participating in the contest or winning the prize (and void all associated entries) if, in its sole discretion, it determines that such person is attempting to undermine the legitimate operation of the contest by cheating, deception or other unfair playing practices, or intending to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other entrant or Sponsor’s representatives. ANY ATTEMPT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE THE WEBSITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE contest MAY BE IN VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS AND SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK ANY AND ALL REMEDIES AVAILABLE FROM ANY SUCH INDIVIDUAL TO THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW, INCLUDING CRIMINAL PROSECUTION. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to cancel, modify or suspend any portion of the contest for any reason, including should any cause corrupt the administration, security or proper play of the contest and, in the event of termination, to determine the potential winner in a random drawing from among all eligible non-suspect entries received and combined up to such time of impairment.

DISPUTE RESOLUTION: Except where prohibited by law, as a condition of participating in this contest, entrant agrees that (1) any and all disputes and causes of action arising out of or connected with this contest, or prize awarded, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by final and binding arbitration under the rules of the American Arbitration Association and held at the AAA regional office nearest the entrant; (2) the Federal Arbitration Act shall govern the interpretation, enforcement and all proceedings at such arbitration; and (3) judgment upon such arbitration award may be entered in any court having jurisdiction. Under no circumstances will entrant be permitted to obtain awards for, and entrant hereby waives all rights to claim, punitive, incidental or consequential damages, or any other damages, whether foreseeable or not and whether based on negligence or otherwise, including attorneys’ fees, other than entrant’s actual out-of-pocket expenses (i.e., costs associated with participating in this contest), and entrant further waives all rights to have damages multiplied or increased.

CHOICE OF LAW: All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of entrant and Sponsor in connection with the contest, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the substantive laws of the State of Maryland, USA.

12-Year-Old Boy’s Love of National Parks Led Him to Adventure and a Life of Advocacy

Originally published on AZCentral by Karina Bland on March 26, 2019

 

Bryan Wilson has been dog sledding in Alaska, been soaked at Niagara Falls and stood in the shadow of Mount Rushmore.

He saw a grizzly bear at Montana’s Glacier National Park. At Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve, he saw 16 bald eagles, 11 moose and six caribou in a single day.

Not bad for a 12-year-old who used to complain he was bored.

Two years ago, Bryan moved with his family to the Navajo Nation when his dad, a physician with the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, was stationed there.

It’s a beautiful place, Bryan said. But he attends school online and no other families with kids live in the employee housing.

Bryan asked his mom if he could start an Instagram account. Sure, she said, if he made it educational by focusing on national parks.

Bryan had discovered national parks while researching a fourth-grade project. His family lived in Florida and on a trip to Colorado, they visited Rocky Mountain National Park, snowshoed around Bear Lake and sledded in Hidden Valley.

Bryan told his parents, “If all of the national parks are this beautiful, we should go to all the national parks.”

Now Bryan has been to 50 national parks in 50 states and 160 national park sites.

In May, he was named a Buddy Bison Student Ambassador for the National Park Trust, one of four in the country, to promote public lands and share what he learns.

Bryan volunteers at Navajo National Monument, where there are three well-preserved cliff dwellings, answering questions at the information desk and giving tours.

“I’m getting a great education traveling,” Bryan said, learning about history, geography and wildlife.

“There’s so much that the national parks preserve, from the smallest little plant to the biggest bison,” Bryan said.

It’s given Bryan a purpose.

He knows he wants to be a park ranger. And then? Secretary of the Interior.

Buddy Bison’s Buzz March Update

The results are in, and the winners of the Kids to Parks Day National School Contest 2019 have been announced! We received an incredible number of wonderful contest entries. A huge Buddy Bison thanks to the students and teachers for all their hard work. We loved their videos, letters, and artwork received too!

Congratulations to the 68 winning schools and their nearly 4,000 students that will be exploring parks this May for Kids to Parks Day. From grades Pre-K through 12, these students represent 25 states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico! In addition to having a park adventure, they will be giving back to the parks too – from trash pick-up to water testing to tree-planting projects. We can’t wait to see all of their pictures and stories from the day.

Thank you to our sponsors Hydro Flask and the First Solar Corporate Charitable Fund of the Toledo Community Foundation for their generous support for this contest. Because of their donations, 44 schools will also receive Buddy Bison t-shirts, while another 10 will have Hydro Flask water bottles to take on their adventures.

See the winners here. 

While you’re on the website, you’ll see that there’s not just a contest, but events all over the country for Kids to Parks Day that you can attend! Remember to register and be counted!

 

There are plenty of outdoor adventures to be had in winter, but sometimes you just want to stay inside and keep warm. Thankfully, plenty of parks offer programs you can host right inside your classroom!

Baltimore schools Wolfe Street Academy and Frederick Elementary enjoyed a visit from Maryland State Parks’ “Scales and Tales” program. Naturalists brought several “animal ambassadors” to meet the preK through third grade students. With the help of owls, turtles, and even snakes, the naturalists taught the students that all wildlife has a purpose in nature and in their own lives.

Third grade teacher Liz Bucke at Wolfe Street Academy said, “The program was so engaging, [the students] are still talking about it and were making connections about the animals to our reading lesson today!

“Ms. Kate with the Patapsco Valley State Park had the students asking questions the whole time. I’m sure they would have wanted her to stay the whole day if they could. I absolutely loved seeing my students faces light up with excitement each time she showed them a new animal. Best of all, by the end of Ms. Kate’s presentation she had created 34 animal advocates. Many students didn’t realized that because of humans many animals get hurt and then are unable to take care of themselves. We definitely had many ‘light bulbs’ go off when they realized that they can directly have an impact of the health and well being of animals in nature.”

Another one of our partners, Earth Conservation Corps (ECC), brought their falconers and raptors to Neval Thomas Elementary’s 3rd grade in Washington, D.C (a falconer is a certified professional who trains and cares for birds of prey). Just like with Maryland State Parks’ ‘ambassadors,’ these birds showed kids just how amazing nature can be.

ECC also visited students at Beacon Heights Elementary and Patterson Elementary. A big thank you to Bunting Foundation, Pepco, DecisionPoint, and MCS, Inc. for making these unforgettable programs possible for these students!


Did you know that the White House is a national park? Its other name is “President’s Park.” Cesar Chavez Elementary from Hyattsville, Maryland not only visited this park, but received an all-star tour inside the White House itself.

Because the White House is a very important residence AND the seat of the Executive Branch of the United States, there’s a lot of tight security! Before they even could get into the Visitor Center, the students and teachers had to send the White House their personal information, and walk through a metal detector. Once inside, they searched the Visitor Center exhibits for examples of how the White House is an office, a house, and a museum, all rolled into one.

Secret Service Officer Bagwell answers students questions during their White House tour.

Then they had to go through two MORE security checkpoints before they split into smaller groups to tour the actual White House itself with a ranger. The students learned the history of each of the rooms and all the important things that have happened here. They counted how many eagles are worked into the decorations in the State Dining Room (ten). Plus, there was Secret Service all over, and the students were encouraged to ask them questions. When in the big East Room, student Jairo (center, checkered hat) asked Officer Bagwell what had survived the White House fire (in 1814). The answer? The portrait of George Washington, pictured with Buddy Bison below!

Afterwards, the kids put the White House into the context of the rest of Washington, D.C. They discovered how the city had changed over time by studying maps and exploring the nearby historic Lockkeeper’s House. Did you know that a canal used to flow right alongside the National Mall in the 1700s? The lock keeper who lived in this house collected tolls and operated the lock of the Washington City Canal.

These fourth graders were able to enjoy this park adventure thanks to funding from the National Park Foundation and the Every Kid Outdoors program. For the next seven years, this program will allow any fourth grader to visit any national park for free, all because of an act recently approved by Congress.

Are you in fourth grade, or know someone who is? Then head over to EveryKidInAPark.gov and learn how to get your own free park pass!

 

 

 

Have you ever wondered if you would be able to build a fire or a shelter to keep yourself warm in the wilderness? Or if you would be able to find your way without using your phone? Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Sarah put her wilderness skills to the test this winter. Find out what she learned!

Kids to Parks Day School Contest Winners

National Park Trust is pleased to announce the winners of our 2019 Kids to Parks Day School Contest! The school contest is a national program providing up to $1,000 to Title I schools to cover transportation costs, program and stewardship project fees, and educational materials to encourage outdoor education, recreation, and stewardship. This year, 67 schools were selected to receive funding that will support over 4,000 students from grades pre-K through 12. The selected schools represent 25 states plus Washington, DC and Puerto Rico. 

Thank you to our sponsors, The First Solar Corporate Charitable Fund and Hydro Flask, whose gift will fund many of these park experiences. For more information about the contest, contact Katie Zimmerman at katie@parktrust.org or call 301-279-7275.

 

State City School
Alaska Anchorage Chinook Elementary School – Girl Scout Troop 390
Wasilla Finger Lake Elementary School – 4th Grade (Ms. Heintzman)
Wasilla Finger Lake Elementary School – 4th Grade (Mr. Schwartz)
Arizona Tucson AmeriSchools Academy
Flagstaff Sinagua Middle School
California Coalinga Coalinga High School
King City Del Rey Elementary School
Moreno Valley Moreno Valley High School
Los Angeles Ninth Street School
Shafter Shafter Youth Center
Bell Gardens St. Gertrude the Great School
Colorado Saguache Mountain Valley School
Delaware Newark Wilson Elementary School – 3rd Grade
Newark Wilson Elementary School – 4th Grade
District of Columbia Washington, DC Dorothy Height Elementary School
Florida Enterprise Enterprise Elementary School
Boyton Beach SouthTech Academy
Georgia Douglasville Arbor Station Elementary School
Fort Gaines Clay County Elementary School
Covington Middle Ridge Elementary School
Hawaii Captain Cook Honaunau Elementary School
Honoka’a Honoka’a High School
Lihu’e Kawaikini New Century Public Charter School
Idaho Aberdeen Aberdeen Middle School
Council Council High School
Pocatello Jefferson Elementary School – 5th Grade (Ms. Leavitt)
Pocatello Jefferson Elementary School – 5th Grade (Ms. Phelps)
Pocatello Jefferson Elementary School – 5th Grade (Mr. Richardson)
Caldwell Notus Elementary School
Illinois Donovan Donovan Elementary School
Monmouth United West Elementary School
Kansas Wichita Jardine STEM and Career Explorations Academy
Louisiana Scott Scott Middle School – 5th Grade
Scott Scott Middle School- 6th Grade
Scott Scott Middle School – 7th Grade
Scott Scott Middle School – 8th Grade
Maryland Baltimore Catonsville Education Center – RICA (Ms. Wasserbach)
Baltimore Catonsville Education Center – RICA – (Mr. Friedlander)
Elkton Cecil Manor Elementary School
Silver Spring Harmony Hills Elementary School
Silver Spring Jackson Road Elementary School (Proposal Prepared by the Bullis School)
Michigan Sparta Appleview Elementary School
Burr Oak Burr Oak High School – 7th Grade
Burr Oak Burr Oak High School – 9th Grade
Calumet Horizons Alternative High School – 10th Grade
Calumet Horizons Alternative High School – 11th Grade
Calumet Horizons Alternative High School – 12th Grade
Grand Rapids Southeast Kelloggsville Elementary School
Missouri St. Louis Marian Middle School
Maitland Nodaway-Holt Elementary School
Nebraska Sioux City Swett Elementary School
New Jersey Cape May Court House Middle Township High School
New York Cheektowaga Cheektowaga Central High School
Brooklyn P.S. 7 Abraham Lincoln School
Wellsville Wellsville YMCA After-School Program
North Dakota Valley City Jefferson Elementary School
Ohio Cleveland Malachi Center
Mt. Gilead Mount Gilead Elementary School
Akron National Inventors Hall of Fame STEM Middle School
Oklahoma Stuart Stuart School
Oregon Milwaukie Sabin Schellenberg Professional Technical Center
Puerto Rico Toa Alta Manuel Velilla Cabrera Middle
Tennessee Afton Chuckey-Doak Middle School
Smithville Smithville Elementary School
Texas McAllen Lamar Academy
Dallas Trinity Environmental Academy
Houston YES Prep Northbrook High School
Virginia Alexandria Bucknell Elementary School – 4th Grade (Ms. Ganjei)
 Alexandria Bucknell Elementary School – 4th Grade (Ms. McKinney)
Richmond Franklin Military Academy
Glen Allen Greenwood Elementary School
Newport News Greenwood Elementary School
Lynchburg Heritage High School
Highland Springs Highland Springs High School
Henrico Lakeside Elementary School
Washington Montesano Simpson Elementary School
Tonasket Tonasket Elementary School
Wisconsin Laona Laona High School

First Solar Sponsors Kids to Parks Day—Sending 1,100 Students to Parks

Rockville, MD (February 21, 2018) – National Park Trust (NPT) is pleased to announce that it has received renewed funding from the First Solar Corporate Charitable Fund of the Toledo Community Foundation in support of the Kids to Parks Day National School Contest. The First Solar Corporate Charitable Fund has had a long term partnership with NPT dating back to 2012.

With the $25,000 gift from First Solar, National Park Trust will be able to support 25 Title I schools through their Kids to Parks Day National School Contest. For many of these students, this will be their first park experience. The Kids to Parks Day Contest is a national program providing up to $1,000 per school to cover transportation costs, program and stewardship project fees School bus funding is the biggest barrier to the outdoors for students in Title I schools. This year’s contest closed on February 14th and is open each year to Pre K through 12th graders that attend Title I schools, the federal indicator of low-income schools.

Each year, using their grants, the students discover a local park where they enjoy outdoor recreation, use the park as an outdoor science or history classroom, and learn about their role as park stewards by participating in service projects.

“We are pleased to continue our support for the Kids to Parks Day School Contest,” said Keith Burwell, President of Toledo Community Foundation. “This program directly responds to the first tenet of First Solar’s corporate giving values, to support “green” education initiatives.”

“On behalf of the thousands of students from Title I schools that benefit from our multi-year partnership, we are very grateful for this renewed generous gift from the First Solar Corporate Charitable Fund of the Toledo Community Foundation. Each year, these students look forward to discovering and exploring new parks in celebration of Kids to Parks Day,” stated Grace Lee, Executive Director, National Park Trust.

ABOUT NATIONAL PARK TRUST National Park Trust (NPT) is a non-profit dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. NPT is the only land trust with a comprehensive mission of protecting national parks through land acquisition and creating a pipeline of future park stewards by getting kids to parks. Since 1983, NPT has completed 70 land projects in 31 states, 1 US Territory, and Washington, DC. This school year, NPT will provide an estimated 25,000 under-served kids with park trips through their nationally recognized Buddy Bison School Program and Kids to Parks Day National School Contest, both of which support Title I schools. Find out more at www.parktrust.org ABOUT TOLEDO

COMMUNITY FOUNDATION Toledo Community Foundation, Inc. is a public charitable organization created by citizens of our community to enrich the quality of life for individuals and families in our area. In existence since 1973, the Foundation has more than 800 funds with assets of approximately $287 million. The Foundation provides philanthropic services for individuals, families, businesses, and corporations to meet their charitable giving needs. For more information on the Foundation, visit the organization’s website at www.toledocf.org or follow them on Facebook.

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Buddy Bison’s Buzz February Update

 

Muir Woods National Monument is one of the only old-growth coastal redwood forests in the world. Last month 35 fourth-grade students from Hoover Elementary in Oakland, CA stood at the feet of these giant trees, thinking about how they helped create this unique ecosystem and why this park was established to protect this important monument. An old-growth forest takes many years to develop and has large live trees, multi-layered plant life, dead trees and communities of plants and animals that depend on each other to survive. Students enjoyed smelling coastal redwood needles and how they play a part in the forest ecosystem.

Thank you to the Wyss Foundation for making this trip possible!

 

 

Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Tigran Nahabedian journeyed to Seattle, WA for the Northwest Youth Leadership Summit this past November, where he met other kids like him who want a career in parks and public lands. He even trained on a course where the first American to climb Mt. Everest learned to climb! Learn who the climber was by reading Tigran’s blog.

National Park Trust Protects 219 Acres Along Appalachian Trail

National Park Trust (NPT), The Trust for Public Land, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and Oblong Land Conservancy completed the $2.38 million purchase of 219 acres of wooded land surrounding the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in July, 2018. The land has been conveyed to the National Park Service where it will be protected in perpetuity as federal land.

The land is located near Pawling, NY and will enable the trail to be moved around a marshy wetland where current hiker traffic is in conflict with the habitat needs of several endangered animal species. The property will also allow NPS to relocate a parking area away from the landmark Dover Oak. This eastern white oak is the largest tree along the entire length of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and compaction of soil by cars parked around it threatens its root system and long-term survivability. The Dover Oak is a local landmark and the largest white oak in New York State at over 114 feet in height and a circumference of over 20 feet. Had the property not been protected it would have been developed into a 50-unit residential subdivision that would have forever marred the trail’s pristine viewshed.

Photo courtesy of The Trust for Public Land

Another great feature of this section of the trail is that hikers can reach it by a 1.5 hour train trip from Grand Central Station in New York City, disembarking at the Appalachian Trail Train Stop. The train runs twice a day in the morning and again in the afternoon on the weekends making this section of the Appalachian Trail one of the most accessible units of the National Park System to an urban population.

Due to each of these unique attributes, this property was the number one priority for the National Park Service nationwide for 2018.

National Park Trust has made concerted efforts over the past few years to protect and expand the land surrounding the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. In 2017, NPT worked with The Trust for Public Land on the acquisition of an adjacent 1,500-acre parcel of old-growth woodland in Somerset County, ME. This land also protects the nearby Bald Mountain Pond, one of the few bodies of water in the lower 48 states which hold arctic char. The federally-listed threatened Canada lynx also roams nearby along with moose, fisher and black bears.The remoteness and scenic views make the property an iconic destination for backcountry adventures that combine paddling and hiking on the AT into a single day’s outing. It is one of the largest uncut forest blocks in central Maine with individual trees cored at almost 200 years old.

In 1996, National Park Trust also purchased a small but historic viewshed atop South Mountain, near Highfield-Cascade in Maryland. The site was a part of the Confederate artillery position during the September 14, 1862 Battle of South Mountain, where over 5,000 casualties occurred as troops marched to the Battle of Antietam on September 17. By preserving this land and donating it to the National Park Service hikers can continue to see the landscape that played a pivotal role in the Civil War.

Natural Resources Management Act Signed Into Law

We are thrilled to hear that the President has signed the John D. Dingell, Jr.  Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act (S. 47) into law!

The law permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the Every Kid Outdoors Act (formerly the Every Kid in a Park program) for seven years. Collectively this legislation, originally known as the Natural Resource Management Act, will benefit thousands of parks, public lands, and waters as well as providing access to the outdoors to millions of 4th graders and their families.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is America’s most important conservation program, responsible for protecting parks, wildlife refuges, and recreation areas at the federal, state, and local levels. Many of the lands that NPT has transferred to the National Park Service were purchased with funding from LWCF, including Rocky Mountain National Park, Washita Battlefield National Historic Site, Glacier National Park, Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, and Zion National Park.

The Every Kid Outdoors Act will greatly support our youth program initiatives by providing all 4th graders with a park pass that gives them access to America’s public lands and waters. One third of our Buddy Bison School Program students and their families have benefited from this program.

Will you help NPT complete more parks and give park ecosystems and species a better chance at survival by making a gift today?

Donate

Learn More:

  • NPT is part of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition, take a look at their press release about the bill.
  • Read an op-ed by NPT Board Member, Richard Ring, on how the LWCF supports the outdoor economy.

 

Orienteering with Student Ambassador Sarah

Every good adventurer knows that you can’t always rely on a GPS unit or your cellphone to help you navigate outdoors. Being able to use a compass and a map are important skills when outdoors, especially in the wilderness.

Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Sarah practiced her orienteering skills at a local New Jersey park last weekend. Orienteering is an outdoor activity where you use a compass and paper map to navigate to checkpoints, or “stops”,  hidden in a natural area. Sometimes people compete in orienteering competitions to see who can find all the stops the fastest! Read all about Sarah and Buddy Bison’s adventure below:

“This weekend I got to try orienteering at Estell Manor Park, which is a county park in Atlantic County, New Jersey.  I started off by learning about orienteering and how to use a compass.  If you are hiking in the wilderness, it is really helpful to know how to use a compass, since you might not be able to use your phone, and a compass never needs batteries.

I learned how to use the map and compass together to tell me which direction to go when I’m hiking. One interesting thing I learned is that there is a difference between the direction of the North Pole (Geographic or True North) and the “magnetic north” of the Earth. [A compass uses the Earth’s magnetic field to align with the point of “magnetic north”, which is in a different location than the geographic location of the North Pole. Learn more here.]  I also learned how to use the map scale to figure out how far I should be walking between each of the orienteering stops.

Once we learned how to use the compasses, we headed out on the trails.  Estell Manor Park has lots of great trails that go through the woods and some of the trails go by the Great Egg Harbor River. There are a few different orienteering trails to try here. Once we were out on the trail,  I used the compass and the map scale to find my way to the different stops on the orienteering map.  It was cold out and there was still snow on the ground, but I had a great time orienteering at Estell Manor Park.  I’m hoping to come back to this park again a try one of the other orienteering trails.”

 

Buddy Bison Students Honor Fallen Veterans

National Park Trust and Wreaths Across America (WAA) worked together this year to teach a new generation the importance of our nation’s memorials. Students from West Education Campus (DC) assisted Gold and Blue Star families with laying 140 wreaths on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Friday, December 14, 2018. In the process, students formed emotional connections with the families they helped, understanding their loss, and learning their stories.

Based in Maine, Wreaths Across America’s mission is to “Remember – Honor – Teach”. Buddy Bison Students learned about the WAA mission and our memorials prior to the moving ceremony, but none of them anticipated how much more they would learn by meeting the families of our fallen soldiers.

Anderson, a 5th grader from West Education Campus (DC) speaks with a Vietnam Veteran.

“It was so powerful. We told the students what they would be doing and why it was important, but as they spoke with the families and joined them in saluting the engraved names, it really impacted the students. I couldn’t have taught them the emotion they felt first hand,” stated Heimy Salgado, teacher at West Education Campus.

Gabriel, a 4th grader from West Education Campus (DC) salutes the memorial with a Gold Star father.

One wreath was laid at each of the 140 panels of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial by a Gold or Blue Star family member along with a student and a Maine Sheriffs Association officer (the Maine Sheriffs Association has worked with WAA since they began bringing wreaths to Washington, DC). The slow procession of the wreath-layings allowed time for each family to share stories about their loved ones honored at the memorial, and for their name to be read allowed and saluted by the Maine Sheriffs. One student, Carl, asked the Maine Sheriff officer what was the meaning behind this gesture. She graciously explained that is was a sign of respect then showed him step-by-step how to properly salute.

After the event, many students went home to research the names they had read, learning about who they were and where they were from. They also were eager to share stories with their classmates about the families they met and the soldiers they learned about.

“I was sad to see so many names on the Vietnam Memorial but I learned how each one of them sacrificed their lives for us. I won’t ever forget this experience,” said 5th grade student Talita.

Darren, a 4th grade student explained that “this was an emotional experience and it allowed me to connect with all the veterans and their family members.”

“I didn’t expect to connect to the family so fast. As we saluted his son’s name, I could feel what he felt. I know now the sacrifice they made,” said Gabriel, a 4th grader after laying a wreath with a Gold Star father.

Carl, a 4th grader from West Education Campus (DC) learning to salute from a Maine Sheriff officer.

National Park Trust and West Education Campus were honored to assist Wreaths Across America with this ceremony. Together we are teaching our children to remember the important sacrifice of our nation’s veterans and military families.

 

For more information on this event see our press release.

Bryan’s Top Ten National Parks

Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Bryan has been busy the last two years! This month, Bryan has made a list of his top 10 national parks and what he loves about them. 

Over the past two years I’ve had the opportunity to travel to 49 of our 50 states and 44 of our 60 National Parks. I’m going to give you the top ten countdown of National Parks, the best times to visit and family friendly hikes for your trip in 2019. (Note: While there are 60 National Park Service units labeled as “national parks,” there are a total 418 park service units, which includes historic sites, battlefields, etc.)

 

#10 Zion National Park

Bryan in the Narrows at Zion National Park

Zion was an amazing park. I got to hike the Narrows, which was cool. It’s also great for kids because they can play in the water. The best time to go is October because there are no flash floods and the fall colors are beautiful and the water isn’t too cold. The summer gets really hot, so be prepared for the heat. Make sure to bring your gear. And look for big horn sheep and lots of mule deer.

 

#9 Acadia National Park

Acadia was a mixture of green mountains and beautiful beaches.  I enjoyed hiking the Coastal Trail which is right next to the water and lead right to the beach. I would visit Acadia in summer so you can experience the beaches.

 

#8 North Cascades National Park

North Cascades is one of the least visited national parks, so it is very quit.  It also has amazing emerald green water caused by the minerals that come from the mountains. The best trail is the Bored Walk at Diablo Lake. You should go in spring or summer because in winter the visitor center is closed and in fall there aren’t too many fall colors.  

 

#7 Theodore Roosevelt National Park

All the way out in North Dakota is a park dedicated to President Teddy Roosevelt. This park reminded me a lot like Yellowstone, but it is much less crowded. There are bison, prairie dogs, elk, wild horse, and coyotes howling. Take the Prairie Dog Town Trail and you will see hundreds of little prairie dogs running around and if you are lucky I saw a badger there! I think the winters would be harsh, so come during any other time of the year.

Theodore Roosevelt’s cabin in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

#6 Biscayne National Park

Biscayne is a place for swimming, snorkeling, paddle boarding, and so much more. The best trail is the visitor center trial which gives you beach access and great views of downtown Miami; bring your bathing suit. Also make sure to check out the mangroves because you could see manatees. The best time to visit is any time because the weather and water is always perfect.

 

#5 Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park

Bryan in Grand Teton National Park

Yellowstone is a park that if you want to see animals that’s the park to go. You can see anything from a grizzly, to bison, to a pika. I liked the Geyser Basin Trail which you get to see Old Faithful.  The best time to go is fall because the colors and the wildlife encounters. Lamar Valley is a great place to view the wildlife and Mammoth Hot Springs VC there is always elk! You can plan this trip with Grand Teton.

Grand Teton was stunning. I did the Jenny Lake Trail which gave you stunning views of mountains and lakes. The best time to go is fall because they have beautiful fall colors and it’s the best time to see bears.

 

#4 Haleakala National Park

Haleakala was one of my favorites because I got to feel the clouds and see the silver sword plant which is an indigenous plant only found in Haleakala. The best trail is the Northern Visitor Center Trial because you get a viewing of the sun rise; make sure to make your reservations in advance for parking. The best time is anytime because it’s Hawaii! Take the road to Hana after your trip to this National Park.

 

#3 Mount Rainier National Park

The Shadow Lake Trail was awesome it lead you right to a water fall and behind the water fall was Mount Rainier. The best time to go is summer through fall because of the nice weather and fall colors. Winter might be too cold.

Bryan and his family at Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

#2 Rocky Mountain National Park

The Rockies are indescribable; it’s so beautiful. I would do the Bear lake and Sprague Lake Trail which in winter you can walk over the frozen lake. The best time to go is any time of the year, but I like winter because you can snowshoe, sled, backcountry ski, and so much more.

# 1 Glacier National Park

The Crown of the continent is my favorite park because of the mountains, the emerald green lakes, the animals and scenery. You should do the Many Glacier Trail because of the lakes, the bears, and the glaciers; bring your bear spray. The best time to go is before winter because of the stunning colors, the best weather, and the biggest chance of seeing animals. Also, you want to visit before they close the Going-to-the-Sun Road, so check out the website before you make plans.

Bryan and his family on Many Glacier Hike in Glacier National Park

National Park Trust and Wreaths Across America Honor Veterans on the National Mall

December 12, 2018 (Washington, DC) –  In advance of National Wreaths Across America Day, National Park Trust and the non-profit Wreaths Across America will host several wreath laying ceremonies on the National Mall to honor veterans and fallen service members from the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial, Korean War Memorial, and the World War II Memorial on Friday, December 14, 2018.

As part of Wreaths Across America’s mission to “Remember – Honor – Teach,” forty students from National Park Trust’s Buddy Bison School Program (West Education Campus, a Washington, DC public school) will be assisting in the ceremony as they learn the importance of the memorials and the purpose behind honoring these memorials during the holiday season. The ceremonies on the National Mall are done in collaboration with the Maine Sheriffs Association.

“We are pleased to be able to work with Wreaths Across America and National Park Service to educate our Buddy Bison students about the importance of remembering and honoring those who have sacrificed their lives for our nation,” stated Grace Lee, National Park Trust executive director.

Speakers will include: Major General James T. Jackson, U.S. Army (Retired) Director, U.S. Vietnam War Commemoration (Vietnam War Memorial Speaker); David L. Bernhardt, United States Deputy Secretary of the Interior (WWII Memorial Speaker); Morrill & Karen Worcester, founder and executive director (respectively), Wreaths Across America; Wayne Hanson, chairman of the board of directors, Wreaths Across America.

The ceremonies will begin at the Vietnam War Memorial at 1:30pm.  All ceremonies will be open to the public. Coinciding with these events, the Wreaths Across America Mobile Education Exhibit will be stationed on the National Mall throughout the day (8 am – 1 pm) and open to the public.

 

ABOUT WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA
Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992. The organization’s mission – Remember, Honor, Teach – is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies in December at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 1,600 cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and 26 overseas. To learn more, please visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org

 

ABOUT NATIONAL PARK TRUST

National Park Trust (NPT) is a non-profit dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. NPT is the only land trust with a comprehensive mission of protecting national parks through land acquisition, and creating a pipeline of future park stewards by getting kids to parks. Since 1983, NPT has completed 70 land projects in 31 states, 1 US Territory, and Washington, DC. This school year, NPT will provide an estimated 25,000 under-served kids with park trips through their nationally recognized Buddy Bison Programs and Kids to Parks Day National School Contest, both of which support Title I schools.

Find out more at www.parktrust.org

 

ABOUT MAINE SHERIFF’S ASSOCIATION

The Maine Sheriffs’ Association (MSA) is a non-profit organization that coordinates law enforcement and corrections activities with other related agencies. It works to improve and professionalize the sheriffs’ offices in Maine and to assure that all citizens receive the highest quality law enforcement and jail services in an efficient, courteous, and humane manner.

To learn more, visit http://www.mainesheriffs.org

Krista Gordon: Inspiring Tomorrow’s Environmental Stewards

In late November, National Park Trust (NPT) received an early Christmas present: this amazing book (pictured below) from Krista Gordon in Bellingham, WA! It celebrates our partnership with her over the last few years.

Who is Krista Gordon you ask? In 2014, she was working as a substitute teacher at Alderwood Elementary when she first encouraged her students to apply to NPT’s Kids to Parks (KTP) Day School Contest. They won the grant and over 40 fourth graders found inspiration in the ocean and whales at Lime Kiln Point State Park, just like Krista had! The next year, Krista secured funding for nine more under-served schools to visit the park. Her efforts won her the “The Buddy Award” for Outstanding Environmental Stewardship from NPT.

Krista went on to found the Salish Sea Experience, a non-profit focused on “bringing learning to life to inspire tomorrow’s environmental stewards.” In the 5 years since that first field trip, we’ve helped support 9 trips there for 3 schools through the KTP Day National School Contest, involving over 420 students! Learn more about this incredible program by watching this video.

Thank you note from a Cordata student.

 

“The same elements that impact the sea’s health, impact ours. Students are empowered by learning how simple things, like recycling and picking up trash, protect marine life,” says Krista. “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. The whales are not something that can be controlled on this field trip. It is a matter of being in the right place at the right time. When students are in the right place, it is an experience they will never forget. It inspires them to become stewards. It is reason for hope that we can learn to take care of this amazing planet.”

“My son and I loved it!” said parent chaperone Antoinette. “The most valuable part was showing my son that there is more to the world than just where we live — not just telling him. I could not have done this on my own as a single mother without a car. This trip was everything I could have asked for.”

We hope that you find Krista Gordon’s story as inspiring as we did!

If you’re interested in funding a dream park trip of your own, you too can apply for a scholarship! You can win up to $1,000 through the Kids to Parks Day National School Contest. Kindergarten through 12th grade students at all Title I Schools across the country are eligible to apply!

The deadline for entries is Thursday, February 14, 2019 — that’s in just two months! Winners will be announced on NPT’s website Thursday, March 7, 2019.

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

Buddy Bison’s Buzz December Update

 

 

Mullanphy ILC (MO) at the top of the world in Gateway Arch National Park.

Mullanphy ILC felt on top of the world last month! They visited Gateway Arch National Park in Missouri with Buddy Bison. Students journeyed to the top of the Arch and explored the brand new museum with Ranger Chris. They discovered that St. Louis is called the “Gateway to the West” because it was where hopeful pioneers all started their journey into the Western frontier of the young United States. Plus, he gave us a lot of museum artifacts to touch, like Native American beads and a whole bison skin!

They also got to meet me, Buddy Bison, and received their Every Kid in a Park passes! A special thank you to The North Face for making this day of exploration possible.

 

4th graders from Pennycook ES (CA) doing “belly biology” from the pier at San Francisco National Historical Park.

Even in the middle of busy San Francisco, there is wildlife to be found! Annie Pennycook Elementary (CA) 4th graders discovered sea creatures in the harbor at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. They saw sea lions lounging, barnacles clinging, and plenty of seaweed growing in around the harbor.

They didn’t just stay in the harbor though – they went inside the historic ships too with Ranger Rejane for a tour. Afterwards, they received their Every Kid in a Park passes just like Mullanphy did. A big thanks to the Bellamy Family for making this trip possible!

Want your own Every Kid in a Park Pass? If you’re a current 4th grader (or know one), go to EveryKidInAPark.gov and learn how you can get one! It’s valid now until June 2019. Not only can 4th graders enter any federal public land for free with their pass, but their families can too!

 

Student Ambassador Audrey at the Jefferson Memorial


This month, Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Audrey Elliot shares her park adventures from her recent visit to Washington, DC and her own insider secret to visiting multiple parks in one day. Read more on Audrey’s blog.

National Park Trust Receives ‘Parks for All’ Grant from Hydro Flask

National Park Trust (NPT) is pleased to announce that it has been selected as a 2018 recipient of Hydro Flask’s ‘Parks for All’ Charitable Giving Program. Parks for All supports the development, maintenance, and accessibility of public green spaces in the US and beyond so people everywhere can live healthier, happier, and more fulfilled lives.

With the $50,000 gift from Hydro Flask, National Park Trust will be able to support 50 Title I schools—impacting more than 2,200 students—through their Kids to Parks Day National School Contest. For many of these students, this will be their first park experience. The Kids to Parks Day School Contest is a national program providing up to $1,000 per school to cover transportation costs and program fees, the biggest barrier to the outdoors for students in Title I schools. This year’s contest closes on February 14th and is open to Pre K through 12th graders that attend Title I or low-income schools.

In 2018, through the Kids to Parks Day National School Contest, National Park Trust provided over 100 grants benefiting 5,000 students in 35 states and the District of Columbia. Using their grants, the students discovered a local park where they enjoyed outdoor recreation, used the park as an outdoor science or history classroom,and learned about their role as park stewards by participating in service projects.

“It is so exciting for Hydro Flask to be able to make such a large and meaningful contribution to the incredible work being done by nonprofits in the realm of building, restoring, maintaining, and increasing access and education around Parks for All,” said Indigo Teiwes, Senior Corporate Social Responsibility Manager for Hydro Flask. “The staff team that reviewed the applications is inspired by the breadth and depth of work being done by our 2018 grantees.”

“On this Giving Tuesday, we are thrilled to share that we have been awarded Parks for All funding from Hydro Flask,” said Grace Lee, executive director of National Park Trust, “with their early lead support, Hydro Flask is helping us to build an “access trail” so that many more children from under-served communities across the country can celebrate Kids to Parks Day in May.

Find out more about this grant program at www.hydroflask.com or read the program press release here. Read more about the Kids to Parks Day National School Contest.

 

ABOUT NATIONAL PARK TRUST

National Park Trust (NPT) is a non-profit dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. NPT is the only land trust with a comprehensive mission of protecting national parks through land acquisition, and creating a pipeline of future park stewards by getting kids to parks. Since 1983, NPT has completed 70 land projects in 31 states, 1 US Territory, and Washington, DC. This school year, NPT will provide an estimated 25,000 under-served kids with park trips through their nationally recognized Buddy Bison School Program and Kids to Parks Day National School Contest, both of which support Title I schools.

Find out more at www.parktrust.org

 

ABOUT HYDRO FLASK

Hydro Flask is the award-winning leader in high-performance insulated products ranging from beverage and food flasks to the new Unbound Series™ soft coolers. Delivering unexpected refreshment, Hydro Flask innovations showcase TempShield™ double-wall vacuum insulation to lock in temperature, 18/8 stainless steel ensuring pure taste and durable, ergonomic design for the ultimate transport. Founded in 2009 in Bend, Oregon, Hydro Flask is committed to making tomorrow better – from using BPA-free, recyclable materials to its charitable giving program Parks For All, which supports the development, maintenance and accessibility of public green spaces so people everywhere can live healthier, happier and more fulfilled lives.

Learn more about Hydro Flask, Parks for All, and their mission to save the world from lukewarm at https://www.hydroflask.com.

 

ABOUT HELEN OF TROY LIMITED

Helen of Troy Limited (NASDAQ: HELE) is a leading global consumer products company offering creative solutions for its customers through a strong portfolio of well-recognized and widely-trusted brands, including OXO, Hydro Flask, Vicks, Braun, Honeywell, PUR, and Hot Tools. All trademarks herein belong to Helen of Troy Limited (or its affiliates) and/or are used under license from their respective licensors.

For more information about Helen of Troy, please visit www.helenoftroy.com.

The Most Impressive 3rd Graders

National Park Trust Advisory Board member and longtime teacher, Carolyn Cohen has had a large impact on our Buddy Bison School Program over the eight years she has worked with us. This month, she shares the story of how her Kids to Parks Day lesson left a lasting impression on her students.

“For eight years as an elementary school teacher, I championed National Park Trust’s mission to make our local and national parks accessible to children of all economic backgrounds. I witnessed the joy of children playfully engaged with nature, incorporating life skills such as problem solving, cooperation, and stewardship, while reaping the health benefits inherent in outdoor play.

Washington Grove students pose with a beaver-felled stump during their park trip.

Through National Park Trust I learned that many children did not have the opportunity to take advantage of our local, state, and national parks. Not all schools could afford the transportation costs for a park visit, and many families did not have the means or the transportation options to visit these parks on their own. To help address this inequality I decided to have my third grade class enter the Kids to Parks Day School Contest on behalf of a nearby Title I public school. They would calculate the budget and create a compelling story for their narrative to explain why this Title I school should receive a free park trip in their stead from National Park Trust.

The process of completing the application was an extremely gratifying endeavor for the students, it worked perfectly with my curriculum and provided an experiential learning component for them that was relevant and tangible. The students researched costs of snacks for the trip and used the food ads in newspapers to find the best bargains for healthy snacks. Budgeting for this gave them experience combining math skills and economically derived decision making.

My students worked together and decided that using a persuasive writing style would be more interesting and help them win the contest. They researched local parks, collecting photos of their favorites and adding captions to captivate their audience. They learned how to choose a park within reasonable proximity to the selected school and planned a boat trip on a lake for the lucky winners. Some of the children even called the selected park to determine any additional costs for this experience. The students exhibited great joy as they worked hard to provide this trip to other kids who would not otherwise be able to enjoy such a field trip. Their final application was an entire book, bound to accompany their application—a beautiful blend of technology and written expression showing why another class deserved this trip.

When my class learned that they were one of the national winners, the cheers were deafening, there were high-fives all around and smiles that could not have been bigger. They were so proud that their hard work had paid off and that kids just like them that couldn’t have visited a park otherwise were going to experience the fun and adventure of a trip outside. The best moment came for my students at the end of the year, when they received handmade thank you cards from the fifty students from the winning school, expressing their gratitude for the free park trip.

Thank you note from Washington Grove student

Because of my students, fifty children went on a free class trip that seamlessly integrated with their science curriculum and let them witness first hand the habitats and ecosystems they were studying in class. They took a boat ride—many for the first time in their lives—with a naturalist who showed them the species they had studied in class. Their day was filled with healthy outdoor exercise and allowed them to engage with nature and experience the wonder of the outdoors.

We too often live with a narrow view of the world, not cognizant of the discrepancies that exist for populations of children in our own backyards. If we continue to find ways for our youth to show their concern for others through environmental awareness contests like this one, we can make a difference. Not only will our environment prosper but our humanity will as well.”  —Carolyn Cohen

Buddy Bison’s Buzz November Update

Thank you note from Bianca, a Washington Grove Elementary School third grader.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I’m so thankful for students at the Bullis School (MD) who enter our Kids to Parks Day School Contest each year to help an under-served class in a nearby community. Because of the Bullis students, 50 children went on a free park field trip to Black Hills Regional Park and were able to celebrate Kids to Parks Day last May! What a wonderful idea!

To tell this story, I sat down with Bullis teacher Carolyn Cohen who has been an educator for over 30 years. She told me how her third graders were motivated to help others and how everyone learned so much more than expected.

“For eight years as an elementary school teacher at Bullis, I championed National Park Trust’s mission to make our local, state, and national parks accessible to children of all economic backgrounds. I saw the joy of children playing in nature, learning life skills like problem solving, cooperation, and stewardship, while getting exercise in a fun way.

I learned from NPT that many children can’t get to their local parks because of the cost of transportation or entry fee. To help change this I decided to have my third grade class enter the ‘Kids to Parks Day School Contest’ on behalf of a nearby Title I school. My students researched the costs of healthy snacks by looking at food ads in the newspaper. They used math skills to stay in budget and make smart decisions based on the costs. To write the application they discussed as a group how a persuasive writing style would help them win the contest. Finally they researched local parks near the school and found that they could plan a boat trip on a lake for the lucky winners.

My students were joyful as they worked hard to provide this trip for other kids who would not otherwise be able to enjoy this experience. When they learned they were one of the national winners their cheers were deafening. The other students were able to go on a field trip that showed them the habitats and ecosystems they had learned about in class. The students had a day full of healthy outdoor exercise and learning.

Too often, we have a narrow view of the world. We don’t realize the differences that exist for populations of children in our own backyards. If we continue to find ways for our youth to show their concern for others through environmental awareness we can save our natural world and our humanity as well.”

—Carolyn Cohen

Interested in learning more about our Kids to Parks Day School Contest? Check out the application here and be sure to apply by February 14, 2019.


What’s better than visiting one park in one day? Learning about four parks in one day! Thanks to support from the National Park Foundation’s Open Outdoors for Kids funding, we are working with local national parks to host 4 park jamborees for 4th graders.

At our first fall jamboree, National Park Service rangers from Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, National Mall and Memorial Parks, and Frederick Douglass National Historic Site all came together at Bladensburg Waterfront Park (MD). Hundreds of 4th graders from Patterson Elementary, Washington Jesuit Academy, Raymond Education Campus, and Langdon Elementary joined them. They had a fun day of hands-on activities at the park. Besides learning all about history, local wildlife and their local national parks, the kids paddled down the Anacostia River with Wilderness Inquiry (MN) and their Canoemobile program.  Plus, the Alice Ferguson Foundation taught them about the impact they have on their watershed!

Patterson Elementary (DC) fourth graders show off their Junior Ranger badges at Bladensburg Waterfront Park (MD).


The next jamboree took place at the Jefferson Memorial on the National Mall just last week. Our ranger friends from the first jamboree joined us, plus more rangers from Rock Creek Park, Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site, and Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site.

 

Fourth graders from Neval Thomas with Buddy Bison and Acting Superintendent Patricia Trap at the Jefferson Memorial (DC).

Are you in 4th grade at a Title I School in DC, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, or Northern Virginia? It’s not too late for you to join us! Talk to your teacher about signing up for a free park trip on our website. The last two jamborees will be at Rock Creek Park and Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens this spring. Hope to see you there!

 

Buddy Bison students paddling on the Anacostia River (DC).

After the jamboree in Bladensburg Waterfront Park, the Wilderness Inquiry’s Canoemobile program stayed in Washington, DC and Baltimore for almost two weeks so that our Buddy Bison kids could paddle on both the Anacostia (DC) and the Patapsco Rivers (MD). Many  partners joined us for land-based learning. L.L. Bean and The North Face showed us kids how to  set up a tent, the Bureau of Land Management led nature hikes, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers talked to us about water safety, and the U.S. Forest Service played a game that showed us how trees keep water clean.

Over 1,000 kids in grades 3rd through 8th from D.C. and Maryland Title I schools had  fun both on water and on land. For most of them, it was their first time ever in a canoe or at the park! A huge Buddy Bison thank you to National Park Foundation, Paddle Nation, MCS Services, A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation, Pepco, and DecisionPoint, for supporting our Buddy Bison kids—and to all of our amazing program partners who helped make these adventures possible.

Great Oaks Public Charter School students discover the invertebrate life in First State National Historical Park (DE).

Students from Great Oaks Public Charter School, Kuumba Academy Charter School, and the Pilot School attend the first Science Fest in First State National Historical Park. Students participated in hands-on, interactive activities that helped students understand the historic resources, cultural landscape, and diverse ecosystem in the Beaver Valley, one of the newest units of the national parks.

Thank you to The North Face and their Explore Fund for sponsoring this school program. They also are sponsoring four other schools this year in St Louis (MO), Wilmington (DE), Newark (NJ), Brooklyn (NY), and Hendersonville (NC) who will explore their local national parks too! We look forward to sharing their park adventures too!

Bruce Vento Elementary (MN) students at Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary (MN).

 

Buddy Bison 4th graders from Bruce Vento Elementary (MN) went on a very special trip this fall. They visited the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary (MN) for a brisk but fun morning of outdoor fun and learning. Both the school and the Nature Sanctuary are named in memory of  Congressman Bruce Vento, a park champion and former school teacher.

Mrs. Vento (right) and NPT board member Chad Dayton (center) pass out Buddy Bisons to Bruce F Vento Elementary (MN).

During the trip, students learned about pollinators with the Minnesota GreenCorps, met a live owl with the Dodge Nature Center, and did a habitat assessment and hike with National Park Trust staff. This fun-filled morning was capped off by a surprise visit from Mrs. Sue Vento and NPT board member Chad Dayton, who presented each student with their very own Buddy Bison, their new travelling companion and a reminder to “explore outdoors, the parks are yours!” A special thanks to the Bruce  Vento Science Educator Scholarship Fund for sponsoring this school and for making this day possible.  


 

 

 

 

Buddy Bison Student Ambassadors Audrey and Sarah at the White House Halloween Event.

Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Sarah Hullihen certainly had a spook-tacular Halloween! Sarah joined fellow Student Ambassador Audrey Elliott and NPT staff at the White House Halloween event for trick-or-treating. Check out Sarah’s blog to read more about her Halloween adventure, and hear about the rest of her trip to Washington, DC.

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