NATIONAL PARK TRUST AND NATIONAL PARK SERVICE ANNOUNCE 2020 CHALLENGE COST SHARE AWARDS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 15, 2020

NATIONAL PARK TRUST AND NATIONAL PARK SERVICE ANNOUNCE 2020 CHALLENGE COST SHARE AWARDS

More than $360,000 awarded to 19 projects that promote access to outdoor recreation, stewardship, and connecting people to the outdoors.

Washington, D.C. (September 15, 2020) – Today, National Park Trust in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS), announced 19 education and outdoor recreation projects that are funded by the NPS Challenge Cost Share Program and matched by community and nonprofit partners. Each project works to connect local communities to their national parks, national trails, and wild and scenic rivers. Projects include engaging people in active healthy outdoor recreation or in education initiatives that increase knowledge about our nation’s natural and cultural heritage.

“National Park Trust is thrilled to partner with the National Park Service and many local partners across the country to connect all people to national parks and engage a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts and stewards,” said Grace Lee, executive director of National Park Trust. “The Challenge Cost Share program is one of the most effective initiatives that leverage public and private funds and invests in local partnerships that deliver results.”

“Working with the National Park Trust has allowed the National Park Service to better preserve our parks while creating park stewards for tomorrow. Local partner organizations across the country are contributing their skills, talents, and resources to conservation and outdoor recreation projects that provide increased public access while protecting our national parks,” said Stephan Nofield, National Program Manager, National Park Service.

A sample of the 2020 projects includes:

  • Installation of educational gardens at Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument;
  • Training urban and rural youth in trail construction at Rocky Mountain National Park;
  • Providing place-based education and workforce development opportunities for local youth at Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

At First State Historical Park in Delaware, nearly 100 program participants will explore local waterways by canoe and take part in watershed stewardship, learning valuable Watershed STEM lessons meant to spark interest in watershed ecology and illustrate the importance of local waterways past and present.

In Boston, Massachusetts, high school students are participating in a Green Ambassador program where they will work with NPS staff from Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park

to develop knowledge and skills in environmental science, resource stewardship, and park management. At Indiana Dunes National Park in Indiana, military and veteran families will have outdoor adventures while they enjoy the health benefits of spending time in nature. Families in Southern Florida will be introduced to fishing, snorkeling, and paddling experiences in Biscayne and Everglades National Parks.

Partnerships make these projects possible. The National Park Service is providing $386,000 in direct financial support. Community and non-profit organizations that partner with local National Park Service sites have pledged more than $750,000 in direct and in-kind support to individual projects across the country. National Park Trust is administering the program and leveraging additional financial resources to deepen the program’s impact and reach.

ABOUT NATIONAL PARK TRUST

National Park Trust is a non-profit dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. The Park Trust is the only land trust with a comprehensive mission of preserving national parks through land protection and creating a pipeline of future park stewards by connecting kids to parks. Since 1983, National Park Trust has benefitted 48 national park sites across 28 states, one U.S. Territory, and Washington, D.C. Annually, the Park Trust provides an estimated 20,000 under-served kids with park trips through their nationally recognized Buddy Bison Programs and Kids to Parks Day National School Contest, both of which support nearly 300 Title I schools. Find out more at www.parktrust.org.

ABOUT NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 419 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.

Media Contact: Ivan Levin at 540.818.5818 or ivan@parktrust.org.

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Great American Outdoors Act is Signed Into Law

On August 4th, the president signed the Great American Outdoors Act marking the greatest conservation achievement in decades! This act will not only provide $900 million annually for the Land and Water Conservation Fund but will also begin to tackle the National Park Service’s maintenance backlog with a $9.5 billion infusion over five years.

Click here to read more.

NATIONAL PARK TRUST HELPS PROTECT POPULAR SCENIC VIEW ON THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL IN VIRGINIA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 4, 2020

NATIONAL PARK TRUST HELPS PROTECT POPULAR SCENIC VIEW ON THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL IN VIRGINIA

Washington, D.C. (August 4, 2020) – On July 23, 2020, the National Park Trust transferred ownership of 239 acres of land in one of the most popular areas of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.) near Troutville, Virginia to the National Park Service. In the fall of 2018, the Park Trust volunteered to support the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) in the acquisition of the property in Hogan Hollow, Virginia. The landowner wanted to sell before the National Park Service could accept the acreage, so in June 2019, the Park Trust worked with The Conservation Fund to acquire and temporarily hold the property until it could become part of the A.T.

The ATC was awarded a grant from the Virginia Outdoors Foundation to make the purchase and The Conservation Fund managed the transfer of the property from the landowners.

“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy gives its sincere thanks to the National Park Trust for making the preservation of Hogan Hollow a reality,” said Sandra Marra, President and CEO of the ATC. “This acquisition will help preserve the views from McAfee Knob, one of the most beloved locations on the entire Appalachian Trail, and ensures that the area’s natural beauty and ecologically important lands are preserved for the enjoyment and benefit of future generations.”

Wendy Janssen, superintendent of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, said about the acquisition, “This acquisition highlights the power of partnership in preserving and protecting the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. The National Park Service thanks all those involved for their commitment and support to secure the Hogan Hollow property and this critical viewshed for the enjoyment and benefit of all.”

Thousands of hikers each year see Hogan Hollow from McAfee Knob. The 3,197-foot overlook is thought to be one of the most scenic views on the A.T. It’s been said that more pictures are taken there than any other place on the trail. This view could dramatically change if the property was developed or the trees cut, which happened on neighboring land. This project also protects a section of the trail which runs through the property.

National Park Trust’s Executive Director Grace Lee stated, “We are delighted to provide our assistance and expertise to benefit the preservation of our national park sites, and are pleased to be able to assist the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in preserving this land for park visitors to enjoy in perpetuity.”

Hogan Hollow is the Park Trust’s third completed project to acquire land for the A.T. In conjunction with conservation partners, 219 acres near Pawling, NY were added in 2018 and 1,494 acres at Bald Mountain Pond, ME in 2019.

ABOUT NATIONAL PARK TRUST

National Park Trust is a non-profit dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. The Park Trust is the only land trust with a comprehensive mission of preserving national parks through land protection and creating a pipeline of future park stewards by connecting kids to parks. Since 1983, National Park Trust has benefitted 48 national park sites across 28 states, one U.S. Territory, and Washington, D.C. Annually, the Park Trust provides an estimated 20,000 under-served kids with park trips through their nationally recognized Buddy Bison Programs and Kids to Parks Day National School Contest, both of which support nearly 300 Title I schools. Find out more at www.parktrust.org.

 

Media Contact: Ivan Levin at 540.818.5818 or ivan@parktrust.org.

NATIONAL PARK TRUST LAUNCHES BUDDY BISON CREATIVE LEARNING PROGRAM TO BRING PARKS TO TITLE I SCHOOL STUDENTS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 28, 2020

NATIONAL PARK TRUST LAUNCHES BUDDY BISON CREATIVE LEARNING PROGRAM TO BRING PARKS TO TITLE I SCHOOL STUDENTS

New National Distance Learning Program Made Possible with Generous Support from the Wyss Foundation and the National Park Service

Washington, D.C. (July 28, 2020) With so much still unknown about what education will look like for the 2020/2021 school year, National Park Trust announces the launch of a robust distance-learning initiative based on its renowned Buddy Bison School Program which for more than a decade has provided fully funded park experiences for kids in under-served communities including kids of color. This new education package –THE BUDDY BISON CREATIVE LEARNING PROGRAM — is being launched nationwide in Title I schools this fall.

With generous early lead support of $200,000 from the Wyss Foundation, the Park Trust will bring parks to kids with a program that aligns with classroom curricula, is adaptable to different educational situations (whether the students are in school or remote learning at home), and has hands-on learning components to supplement digital materials. The foundation’s gift will also be matched by National Park Service Centennial Challenge funds.

COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges that impact students and families especially those in under-served communities. With 80% of Buddy Bison Program students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch, the federal indicator of low income, these students often do not have the resources at home to support online education or the complementary hands-on activities available to them that can offset hours of sedentary screen time each day. Working closely with teachers who are looking to provide fun, engaging educational activities that support their classroom curricula, the Buddy Bison Creative Learning Program will provide innovative programming that keeps students engaged with our parks and outdoor education while maintaining physical distancing and meeting new school safety policies

The program and materials will emphasize the Buddy Bison Program’s three pillars:

  • Education: using parks as outdoor classrooms through hands-on activities and virtual visits including visits from rangers or special guests.
  • Health and Wellness: encouraging kids to get moving outside safely near their home or at parks for their mental and physical wellbeing.
  • Stewardship: teaching kids about their role as park stewards and caretakers of our environment.

To align with these pillars, the Buddy Bison Creative Learning Program will include 10 units on subject areas including fossils, watersheds, animal adaptations, plants, geomorphology, stars/space, and even park art. Acknowledging the importance of national parks as places where the stories of our country are preserved and retold, a unit on important figures in history will also be featured.

“After the pandemic hit and schools were abruptly closed, we listened to the needs and challenges of the hundreds of teachers that we support across the country. The National Park Trust is committed to supporting our students during this crisis and will continue our work to break down barriers that prevent under-served communities from accessing and engaging with the benefits of the great outdoors,” said Grace Lee, executive director, National Park Trust. “The new Buddy Bison Creative Learning Program will help to bring those fun and memorable park experiences to students no matter where they are learning this school year.”

ABOUT NATIONAL PARK TRUST

National Park Trust is a non-profit dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. The Park Trust is the only land trust with a comprehensive mission of preserving national parks through land protection and creating a pipeline of future park stewards by connecting kids to parks. Since 1983, National Park Trust has benefitted 48 national park sites across 28 states, one U.S. Territory, and Washington, D.C. Annually, the Park Trust provides an estimated 20,000 under-served kids with park trips through their nationally recognized Buddy Bison Programs and Kids to Parks Day National School Contest, both of which support nearly 300 Title I schools. Find out more at www.parktrust.org.

Media Contact: Ivan Levin at 540.818.5818 or ivan@parktrust.org.

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Welcome to Week Four of Camp Buddy Bison

Thank you for joining us and our wooly mascot Buddy Bison over the past month as we explored national parks across the country. Our last camp adventure this summer is to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

This week, Camp Buddy Bison features six fun activities for you to enjoy: yoga with a unique twist, an awe-inspiring virtual tour, Jr. Ranger activities, two animal crafts, and an eco-challenge. Complete one or more activities per day.

Did you miss other weeks of camp? Don’t worry, you can view all of the activities here.

For our final week of Camp Buddy Bison, we are exploring Great Smoky Mountains National Park located in Tennessee and North Carolina. The park is part of the Appalachian Mountains, a mountain chain that stretches from Alabama to Canada. The Smokies feature some of the highest peaks in eastern North America. The 480 million-year-old mountains were once as high as the much younger summits of the Alps and Rocky Mountains.

Did you know that it’s the third most visited national park site in the country and attracted 12.5 million visitors in 2019? One of its draws is the abundance of wildlife, including black bear which has a population of 1,500 – 1,600 as well as being one of the only remaining homes in the United States for lungless salamanders.

Click on the images (and some links) below to learn more about Great Smoky Mountains National Park and get started on this week’s activities!

Bear Catching Yoga

Bear Catching Yoga

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the largest protected areas in the eastern United States where black bears can live in wild, natural surroundings. Join Cosmic Kids for a “We’re Going On A Bear Hunt” yoga adventure.

Virtual Tour

Virtual Tour

This park is one of the most visited because of its numerous hiking trails, waterfalls, abundant plants and animals, as well as gorgeous overlooks. Check out some of its most popular areas by taking this Google Earth virtual tour.

Slimy Sanctuary

Slimy Sanctuary

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known as the “Salamander Capital of the World!” There are over 30 different species living there and it is a key location for the study of these environmentally significant animals. Follow along with interns at Smoky Mountains as they learn about salamanders. Then, demonstrate what you’ve learned by drawing your own with this tutorial from SmokiEEEs at Home!

Buddy's Bird Wings

Buddy's Bird Wings

Over 240 bird species, from soaring hawks to singing warblers, fly through the skies above the Great Smoky Mountains. Each bird has a unique wing shape that matches its lifestyle. Learn about bird wing adaptations with Buddy Bison and build your own sets of wings. You can test them out and observe how wing shapes affect flight.

Bear Track Stamps

Bear Track Stamps

The park is home to a very large population of black bear; in fact, this year there are around 1,500 to 1,600 – a record-breaking number for the park! Despite their large number, black bear can still be challenging for researchers to locate among the large, rolling hills of the region. Learn how they track and identify bears, and other types of animals, by creating your own animal print stamps with Buddy Bison.

Eating Right

Eating Right

Historically, people used to eat a lot of foods that were gathered directly from nature. For example, in the Smoky Mountains alone there are eight common berries that can be collected. Today, we can still make good food choices that keep us and the planet strong and healthy. Learn how simple diet changes can lead to a healthier lifestyle that also allows parks and wildlife to thrive!