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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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:
How to Win
- Register to Participate by filling out our easy form above
- Get Outside for a Kids to Parks Day Event any day in the month of May, you can find a full map of events here
- Tag Us and Use #KidstoParks on Instagram or send your photo to email@example.com (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
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: firstname.lastname@example.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.
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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.
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.
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.
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!
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 email@example.com or call 301-279-7275.
|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)|
|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|
|Mt. Gilead||Mount Gilead Elementary School|
|Akron||National Inventors Hall of Fame STEM Middle 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|
|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|
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.
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 (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.
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.
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?
- 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.
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.”
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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
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.
#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
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.
#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.
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
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.
“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, (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call 301-279-7275. If you would like to help sponsor this program, contact Rebecca Hansell, email@example.com.
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.
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!
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 (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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.”
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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 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.
National Park Trust, Historic Whidbey, National Park Foundation, National Park Service, and numerous local partners worked collectively this month to preserve one of Washington state’s oldest homes and a critical parcel of shoreline within Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve on Whidbey Island. Thanks to this partnership, the 150 year old Haller House will be preserved, maintaining the historical landscape of downtown Coupeville, WA, as well as the shoreline of the property which connects the house to Penn’s Cove.
The Haller House is an exceptional representation of the pioneering life that Americans established in 1860’s Coupeville, WA. The house was initially built in 1859 before Colonel Granville Haller, a Civil War veteran, arrived on Whidbey Island in 1866 and purchased the property. Haller added the larger two-story portion of the home. The property once included a large warehouse and store along the waterfront of Penn’s Cove which supported the town with dry goods through Haller Mercantile.
“Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve was established forty years ago based on the understanding that historic preservation would require close cooperation among all levels of government and between the public and private sector. In celebration of the Reserve’s 40th anniversary, we sincerely appreciate the assistance provided by the National Park Trust in helping to preserve this important heritage asset. Their assistance is a shining example of the Reserve idea in action” noted Roy Zipp, Superintendent, NPS Operations
Now that the home has an easement to protect the historic nature of the property, Historic Whidbey will begin work to revitalize the home to its former glory while keeping the exterior of the house historically accurate. Thanks to an unusual history of ownership, the house has never been modernized and remains mostly historically intact to the late nineteenth century. The house will eventually become a heritage center to tell the history of Washington’s Territorial period.
Though the acreage of this lot is small in comparison to the 19,000+ acres that make up Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, the history of this downtown home and its access to Penn’s Cove made it a critically important parcel for the National Park Service. In 2013, The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation listed the Haller House as one of the state’s ‘Most Endangered Properties.’
“When contacted by the National Park Service about the shortfall of funds needed to complete this important project, we were pleased to be able to respond quickly to close the gap in a timely fashion” said Phil Selleck, National Park Trust’s Park Projects Director. “We saw it as a unique opportunity to keep the historical landscape of pioneer-age Washington intact.”
National Park Trust’s donation to complete the project was provided by NPT board member Kevin Seth, who shared, “as a new member of the board, I was delighted to help National Park Trust in its mission to preserve and protect our critical national parks, especially when there was a sense of urgency to complete this historic project.”
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 27,000 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
Buddy Bison School Program teacher, Heimy Salgado from West Education Campus in Washington, DC sits down with us to talk about the magic parks have worked on her students. At the start of last year her male students preferred playing video games. Now 90% of them would rather play in nature!
How do you work outdoor education into your curriculum beyond field trips?
Ms. Salgado: When I first started the program, I worked to provide the students and their families with information on activities they could do at nearby parks. To make this a learning experience for the students, I taught them how to read local maps so they could find other parks near their homes. Students then had to present research on a park near them with PowerPoint presentations, board displays, and flyers, which they handed out to parents and members of the community. Now, the students and their families have become energized and excited about finding and visiting their local parks and leading a more active life.
Before each field trip I connect the classroom to the outdoors so the students feel empowered, prepared, and excited to see what we have studied indoors and discover for themselves what it looks like outdoors. When preparing for a canoeing trip, we studied different methods of water conservation. In the student’s eyes, it is more than a field trip, they become explorers seeking out what we’ve talked about in class.
How did the outdoors affect your students?
Ms. Salgado: I had one student with severe behavior problems at the beginning of the school year, he couldn’t focus and sometimes became aggressive when he was uncomfortable or felt challenged. I tried to teach him in a lot of ways but nothing was working. When we started thinking about ways to learn outdoors something clicked for him and he became really engaged.
When we went canoeing he received a compliment from the instructor leading his canoe and it made his day, it made his week, it made his month! From there on, he began to feel more confident and became a leader in the outdoors. He needed that adventure and activity as an outlet for his energy but it also became his connection to the information I was teaching. I was able to model my planning for him in a way that would allow him to do projects outdoors. Every STEM project he did was outdoors. He explored the different animals that are in DC and did a project on that. It completely changed how the class saw him, how I saw him, and how he saw himself.
Outside of the classroom he has also gone on to be a much more active kid. When I first met him his only hobby was video games, now he asks other students “why would you play video games when you can go outside?”
How do you incorporate the outdoors in your lesson plans?
Ms. Salgado: I adapted one of the Buddy Bison School Program lessons that focus on the different types of parks there are in our country to instead look only at the parks in our area. By doing this, I didn’t have to do as much planning and the students had easier access to what we were studying.
To start the lesson we looked at maps, learned how to find parks that were near us, and then made presentations on the parks the students were most interested in. This project provided students with multiple ways of learning the same information.
This project in particular really helped to transform one of my students who had been very quiet, she fell in love with the stories behind the parks and it sparked an interest in her to learn all she could about each park. She became so passionate about the project that other students talk about how she will be a park ranger when she grows up.
Can you tell our readers how you use Buddy Bison in your classroom?
Ms. Salgado: In the beginning, the students would take turns taking you out to national parks. They were very excited to hear from each other where Buddy Bison had been over each weekend. Now each student has their own Buddy Bison, they bring him to school attached to their backpacks. They talk about the next trip that they’re gonna take and that they’re going to take their Buddy out.
How has your classroom changed since starting the program?
Ms. Salgado: It’s made the actual content I teach more engaging because students know that they will be able to go out and do something with what we have learned in the classroom.
For example, when the students went hiking, they came back and talked about how they get thirsty, and that when you exercise you need to hydrate. Other students focused on the animals that we might have in Washington, DC. These are things that I didn’t have to tell them. They found it on their own and because of that they have a stronger connection to the information than if they had just learned it from a book. The students have realized they’re active learners and shouldn’t expect teachers to tell them everything. They feel empowered to go out and learn on their own. They’ve learned that the “park” in their own backyard has something to teach them.
The parents have also changed considerably, and with having an Every Kid in a Park Pass they are now planning family vacations around visiting parks, something that none of them considered at the start of the school year.
How many families are planning park trips?
Ms. Salgado: I would say that 60% of the parents are thinking about ways to get their kids to a national park. Before this program, many of the families relied heavily on video games and TV to entertain their children during the weekend and in summer. Now they’re talking about how important is that their kids go out to play and learn. It’s definitely made a huge impact within the community.
Want to learn more about incorporating parks into your classroom? Check out the school resources on our website, or contact our Director of Youth Programs Billy Schrack with your questions: firstname.lastname@example.org, 301-279-7275.
National Park Trust (NPT) is pleased to announce that 35 acres of once private land has been permanently protected from development and returned to Zion National Park. NPT worked with The Trust for Public Land and the National Park Foundation to purchase the 35 acre in-holding—a privately owned piece of land completely surrounded by the park—and donate the land to the National Park Service.
The land is near Firepit Knoll, on the Kolob Terrace in the north west area of the park and is an important section of the park for hikers traveling the popular Hop Valley Trail. In protecting this area from development, visitors can continue to enjoy the natural landscape unique to Zion.
NPT assisted our partners with this project by providing the final funds required for closing costs and due-diligence work on the property before it could be processed for donation to the National Park Service.
“National Park Trust is honored to have worked with The Trust for Public Land and National Park Foundation to permanently preserve this land for generations to come,” said Phil Selleck, Park Projects Director at National Park Trust. “We believe it is critical that we complete our national parks to protect them from any development within park boundaries that would diminish their status as a national treasure as well as our legacy for those future generations; this was an important step in protecting Zion National Park.”
“Visiting a national park like Zion is a once in a lifetime experience for many people,” said Jim Petterson Southwest and Colorado Director for The Trust for Public Land. “That experience should be about majesty and wonder and dramatic and unspoiled landscapes. Working with our partners to protect Firepit Knoll ensures future generations will have the opportunity to experience grand views of the Zion Wilderness unmarred by incompatible development.”
“Partnership is vital to protecting America’s national treasures,” said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation. “The National Park Foundation’s collaboration with The Trust for Public Land, National Park Trust, and donors preserves an important piece of our shared inheritance so that all people can experience it.”
This is the second project National Park Trust has completed within the same area in Zion National Park. In 2012, NPT worked with National Parks Conservation Association and The Trust for Public Land to protect a 30 acre parcel at the base of Tabernacle Dome, just four miles from the current project.
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 66 land projects in 30 states, 1 US Territory, and Washington, DC. This school year NPT will provide an estimated 27,000 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 THE TRUST FOR PUBLIC LAND
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live within a 10-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year.
To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
Celebrating 50 years, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and ENGAGE the next generation of park stewards. In 2016, commemorating the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, the Foundation launched The Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, a comprehensive fundraising campaign to strengthen and enhance the future of these national treasures for the next hundred years.
Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org
Are You Ready to Party?
On October 22nd I’m celebrating my birthday by getting outside with my friends and planning a party that everyone can join! Parks are the perfect place to host parties. To help you plan your own birthday (or celebrate mine!) I will be sharing some great game ideas this month on social media. Make sure you follow National Park Trust on Facebook and Twitter to get free downloadable content like Pin the Tail on the Buddy.
You can also celebrate my birthday by getting your own Buddy Bison. Each little Buddy sale provides one student from a Title I school with a park trip.
Neval Thomas Elementary’s 3rd graders visited one of the many national parks in their “backyard,” the National Mall and Memorial Parks (DC). There, they met many rangers who told them the stories of the great people memorialized in downtown Washington, DC. They explored the symbolism at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and found clues to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s story at his monument. Then they discovered Lincoln’s place in history and learned their own responsibility to help finish Martin Luther King, Jr’s work.
Thanks Pepco for providing volunteers and transportation for this long-time Buddy Bison School!
West Education Campus 5th graders took the plunge, and went freshwater snorkeling in
the George Washington & Jefferson National Forest (VA) this month. The students took turns wriggling into wetsuits and joined educators from the US Forest Service in the stream just off the Lion’s Tail Trailhead. While underwater, the students were looking for small fish, crayfish, insects, and plants. Students also participated in a stream survey with educators from NorthBay and the Chevy Chase Audubon Society. Using dip-nets, students caught critters in their nets and identified what species of insects they found.
A huge thank you to the US Forest Service for making this aquatic adventure possible.
Washington Jesuit Academy journeyed to Antietam National Battlefield with their 8th graders, the site of the bloodiest battle during the Civil War. After touring the battlefield on their own, they met with a ranger who showed them how both Confederate and Union soldiers communicated with each other on the battlefield, as well as the steps required to fire a cannon. The students used a cipher disk and swung flags in simple patterns to send coded messages to each other across a field. Then they learned how the cannons worked. They took turns playing the different roles and raced each other to see who could complete all the steps the fastest. The 8th graders had a great time! Thank you to the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation for making this trip possible.
Seaton Elementary and their 2nd graders traveled to the US National Arboretum, where they explored the Washington Youth Garden and the “Fern Valley” trail. In the garden, they used all five of their senses to experience the plants that are grown there. They also learned about the importance of pollinators, tasted honey, and observed the decomposers (earthworms) that help turn dead plants back into soil. In Fern Valley, the students saw what their neighborhoods would be like if humans didn’t live there. They saw frogs and turtles. Just like in the garden, they used their five senses to make observations about the plant life on the trail.
Let’s give a Buddy Bison shout-out to DecisionPoint for sponsoring this school for another year of adventure!
Viewing wildlife can be one of the most exciting moments during any park visit. Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Tigran was on a quest this summer to find a moose at Rocky Mountain National Park. Check out Tigrans blog to see if he was successful!