National Park Trust Youth Leadership Program
The goal of the Buddy Bison Youth Leadership Program is to promote National Park Trust’s mission of preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. Buddy Bison Youth Leaders are volunteers who educate children and families across the country about the benefits of our natural, cultural, and historical parks — because kids need parks and parks need kids! They also promote the important ways we can all help protect these spaces for generations of enjoyment.
Our Youth Leaders use Buddy Bison, their new traveling companion, to promote the importance of enjoying and discovering our parks and public lands and waters; they are park stewards and advocates for our public spaces. Through outdoor education, stewardship projects, and recreational activities, our Buddy Bison Student Ambassadors and Representatives encourage kids to be the future caretakers of our parks and help instill the value of getting outside and having fun! As Buddy Bison would say “Explore Outdoors, the Parks are Yours”!
The Park Trust’s Youth Leadership Program began as the Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Program in 2015 as our country prepared for the Centennial Celebration of the National Park Service. Our first Ambassador Tigran Nahabedian, set the bar high with his creative and exciting ideas about how to connect kids to parks. He was followed by Sarah Hullihen (NJ), Audrey Elliott (NC), and Bryan Wilson (MD). In 2019, the Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Program expanded and is now our new Buddy Bison Youth Leadership Program! From the outpouring of public interest shown, we quickly realized the need to create the broader Youth Leadership Program. What was once “just” our Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Program with 4 elementary and middle school students, has now grown to over a dozen students, and includes our newest categories: Buddy Bison Student Representatives, grades 4-12, who provide more local community support for parks, and our Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Alumni who can still actively promote our mission during their busy high school years.
All of our Youth Leaders enjoy discovering and sharing their park experiences through our digital platforms. Best of all they can receive special access to park events meeting VIPs, park officials, rangers plus many students and their families wherever they go.
Our Youth Leaders proudly represent 10 states and Washington, D.C., and span the ages of 9 to 16. Congratulations and welcome to our newest members! We look forward to following your stories about your park adventures!
Buddy Bison Student Ambassadors
Buddy Bison Student Representatives