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Kids to Parks Day is May 16, 2020! National Park Trust (NPT) invites students across the country to participate in the 10th annual Kids to Parks Day, a nationwide grassroots movement to celebrate America’s parks and public lands.

In honor of this day, NPT is once again hosting the Kids to Parks Day National School Contest to help educators engage their students with their local parks. This national contest is open to all Title I schools in the United States (grades pre-K through 12). Classes can receive funding for a Kids to Parks Day event at a local park or public land/waterway in their community.

Students must research and write the proposal themselves. (Though we encourage teachers to provide support and feedback!) Teachers and staff will also have a short section to complete as well. Your entries should explain how your experience will promote education, health and wellness, and park stewardship. NPT will award park grants up to $1,000 to winning entries. We encourage schools to implement their Kids to Parks Day event during the month of May 2020 but exceptions can be made based on school schedules.

The Contest opens October 23rd, 2019 and all entries are due by February 14th, 2020.

To learn more, or to apply, visit https://www.parktrust.org/kids-to-parks-day/school-contest/

Arts in Parks

October is Arts in Parks month! Whether you are inspired by a park to create your own art, wish to visit an artist in residence at a park, or tour a historic site to learn about an artist, the National Park system has so much to offer! To learn more about the artistic happenings in our parks, available all year long, visit  https://www.nps.gov/subjects/arts/index.htm

Four of NPT’s Buddy Bison Youth Leadership team participated in the #ParkArt challenge this month, check out their creative works of art below:

Photographed by Clara

Drawn by Penny

Painted by Sofia

Painted by Audrey

Meet NPT’s Youth Leadership Team

National Park Trust is excited to introduce you to our 2019-2020 youth leadership team! We have expanded our existing Ambassador program to include two new roles: Buddy Bison Student Representatives and Buddy Bison Ambassador Alumni. These youth leaders not only love to discover parks and share their experiences with other kids, but they are also dedicated stewards of our public lands.

Happy Shark Week

By: Anna Medema | July 31, 2019

Happy Shark Week! 

Sharks are one of the world’s most famous predators, but how much do we actually know about them? Several coastal national park sites help provide insight into the lives of these marine animals.

One of the best parks to learn about sharks is Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts. In particular, Cape Cod is known for its population of great white sharks, one of the sharks at the top of the food chain. As predators, they fill a very important role in marine ecosystems, and have direct impacts many species including seals and other fish. Seals make up the primary portion of their diet, and as the seal population of Cape Cod had increased in recent years, so has the great white shark population. Cape Cod has many tips for how to stay safe in and around the water, including always staying in groups and avoiding low-visibility water. For more information about shark safety at the park, click here

However, not all sharks pose a threat to humans! In fact, only a small portion of the 470 species of sharks are aggressive or dangerous to us. Many more of them would rather keep to themselves, such as the nurse shark found at Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida. Nurse sharks are carnivorous, but their lives do not center around hunting. They enjoy spending time swimming, resting, and socializing in groups. Studying nurse sharks has helped shed light on the importance of sharks in tropical ecosystems, both in the oceanic food webs and in coral reef ecology. To learn more about nurse sharks in Dry Tortugas, click here.

Although sharks are often made out to be scary predators, they have more to fear from us than we do from them. Fishing nets and shark fin markets pose a threat to these animals, as does climate change and the resulting changing ocean ecosystems. This Shark Week, we encourage you to check out one of these coastal national park sites to learn more about sharks and the crucial role they place in our ecosystems! Photo links here and here.

List of coastal national park sites where sharks may be present:

  • Acadia National Park
  • Assateague Island National Seashore
  • Canaveral National Seashore
  • Cape Cod National Seashore
  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore
  • Cape Lookout National Seashore
  • Channel Islands National Park
  • Dry Tortugas National Park
  • Fire Island National Seashore
  • Gulf Islands National Seashore
  • Olympic National Seashore
  • Padre Island National Seashore
  • Point Reyes National Seashore

Link to general NPS site about sharks: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/oceans/sharks-and-rays.htm

Another Great Year!

Thanks to your support, this year, National Park Trust was able to provide funding for outdoor education experiences for nearly 20,000 children as well as complete projects to benefit the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Washita Battlefield National Historic Site, Ebey’s Landing National Historic Preserve, and Zion National Park. Take a look at all that we have accomplished together!