Buddy Bison’s Buzz September Update

Fund Your Dream Park Trip

Is there a park you dream of visiting? Talk to your school about applying to the Kids to Parks Day National School Contest! Title I schools can enter and win up to $1,000 to fund a dream park experience.

The deadline for entries is Thursday, February 14, 2019. Winners will be announced on NPT’s website Thursday, March 7, 2019.

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



Getting Hands-on Learning in the Great Outdoors


Last month, I shared the outdoor adventures of some our 2018 Kids to Parks Day School Contest winners. Now, let’s take a dive into the incredible hands-on learning that happens when you step out of the classroom and into your local park! Maybe these experiences can inspire your own contest entry.

Photo courtesy of Cody Perry.

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Reserve is a maze of lava fields, caves, and sagebrush steppes. Tendoy Elementary’s (ID) 5th graders explored the unique volcanic geology of this national park unit by hiking and enjoying ranger-led hands-on experiments. They saw firsthand how volcanoes can explode by making a “rocket” out of Alka-seltzer and vinegar!

Craters of the Moon was the best field trip, and best place I’ve ever been to,said 5th grader Callen. “With all of the sights, sounds, and caves, those things made Craters of the Moon so much better. I learned a lot. Like, the huge dried up lava grounds are called the Great Rift! I loved reading the signs and getting information about the areas the signs talked about. I hope to visit Craters of the Moon again!”


Photo courtesy of Meghan Hess Shamdasani.

Have you ever thought about being a scientist? SouthTech Academy’s (FL) high schoolers did a large project investigating the impact of plastic waste on their local seashore. They researched the different kinds of plastics in the oceans and participated in a class survey studying which straw people would choose once they knew its environmental effect. Then they traveled to Juno Beach and picked up trash along the shore. They discovered that what they learned in class is correct in real life! Afterwards, the students toured the Loggerhead Marinelife Center and saw the sea life that can be affected by trash in the ocean. All of the kids went home with a greater sense of what they can do to help.

I have become more self-aware about what [impact] my decisions have on my surroundings,” said one of the students. “Helping to clean Juno Beach has inspired me to want to help our community because being able to make a difference in our community can also make a difference around the world. If we clean the beaches then less trash and plastics can enter the ocean and be spread somewhere around the world. I also learned that just by educating people we can make a difference to help better our environment and our society. Now I want to help educate more people on ways they can help to better our environment.”

Photo courtesy of Krista Gordon.

3rd graders from Alderwood ES (WA) and the 4th grade of Cozier ES (WA) asked a big question before going on their field trip to Lime Kiln Point State Park: “How will I apply what I learn to make a difference where I live?” Their field trip was part of a lesson on “how societies interact with the natural world.”

At the park, the students observed how different types of soil and rock can filter pollutants. They also discovered creatures that live in tidal pools in the park. Finally, they hiked to the 19th-century lime kiln that gave the park its name. Cozier ES even spotted the orca pod they’d adopted!

“This was the first time on a ferry and to the islands for many of the students and parents. 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,” said Krista Gordon, coordinator for the schools’ Salish Sea Experience. “When students are in the right place, it is an experience they will never forget. It inspires them to become stewards. It is exciting to see this younger generation come alive and understand they make a difference. It is reason for hope that we can learn to take care of this amazing planet.”

Give Back to your Park on Public Lands Day

The 25th Annual Public Lands Day is coming to a park near you on September 22, 2018!

For the last several years, I’ve celebrated the National Environmental Education Foundation’s Public Lands Day along with National Park Trust, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and too many other partners to count!

National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. Many federal public lands like national parks are FREE to enter on this day. Find an NPLD event [insert link] or use NPT’s Park Finder map [insert link] to find a great National Park Service site near you.

There are many ways you can participate this year! Check out some of our favorite ideas below:

  • Visit a national park for free.
  • Volunteer and receive a fee-free day coupon to be used on a future date. Find participating parks
  • Share your favorite outdoor activity on social media channel with the hashtag #NPSVolunteer, #FindYourPark and #NPLD. Don’t forget to tag #BuddyBison too!

Can’t make it to a park on September 22nd? You can have a “distance learning adventure” instead! Go to FSNatureLIVE.org to go caving, visit an American rainforest, or meet bats up close. #BatWeek is coming up soon too, October 24-31. Learn more at their website.

How will you spend National Public Lands Day this year? Let us know by tagging us on social media with a picture of you and Buddy enjoying the outdoors: #BuddyBison #WheresBuddyBisonBeen.



Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Bryan Shares “Tips for Road Trips”

Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Bryan created a handy list of “Tips for Road Trips” to help you plan your next park adventure. Junior Ranger Bryan has traveled all around the East Coast, Midwest, and even in Canada to explore the outdoors and wants to help you make your next road trip with kids successful!