Washington, DC (June 12, 2019)– At an evening reception at the Newseum, the National Park Trust (NPT) awarded Sen. Richard Burr (NC) with the 19th Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award. The award was presented by Sue Vento and NPT Board Chair Bill Brownell (top left) along with students Audrey Elliott, Morgan Marsh and Amari Sowah (left to right).
Senator Burr was recognized for his numerous accomplishments including his leadership in seeking permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund – a vision he shared with the award’s namesake, Congressman Bruce Vento. Furthermore, his sponsorship of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Reauthorization Act and ongoing efforts to protect the Corolla Wild Horses demonstrates his continued commitment to protecting some of America’s most valuable ecological and historical resources.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by The National Park Trust, and I want to thank them for their support. I strongly believe it’s our responsibility to preserve America’s natural landscapes and parks, so our children and grandchildren can enjoy them as much as we have. North Carolina has over 19 million visitors to its National Park Service Units each year, and organizations like The National Park Trust work diligently with their federal partners to help make those lands accessible. I will continue fighting for common-sense conservation efforts as long as I serve in the Senate.”
Photo by Ben Droz.
Senator Burr has been a strong proponent and active defender and protector of the core values of conservation in this country. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee and the Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure, Senator Burr has supported and advocated for the protection of our national parks, public lands and waters. He also serves on the Senate Aging Committee, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and chairs the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Three students joined NPT to recognize the Senator: Audrey Elliott, 11 years old from Nebo, NC who is one of NPT’s four student ambassadors and Morgan Marsh and Amari Sowah. Amari and Morgan are 9 years old and attend Elsie Whitlow Stokes Public Charter School, one of 21 Buddy Bison Schools in the Washington, DC metro area.
Student Ambassador Elliott reiterated that, “North Carolina has over 19 million visitors to our National Park Service units each year. It is my mission to increase the awareness of our national parks and encourage other kids to protect these important places. Thank you, Senator Burr, for helping make this possible.”
“We were delighted to be able to honor Senator Richard Burr for his service in Washington, DC and at home in North Carolina to support bi-partisan legislation and programs that will not only preserve America’s national parks and public lands today but also ensure that they will be treasured forever,” stated NPT Board Chair Bill Brownell.
ABOUT THE VENTO AWARD
NPT established the Vento Award in 2001 to honor the memory and legacy of Bruce F. Vento, a twelve-term Congressman from Minnesota, dedicated environmentalist and a champion of legislation for America’s parks. The award honors a public servant for his or her commitment to the environment and their service, skill and innovation in support of our public lands. Past recipients include Senator Martin Heinrich (NM), Senator Lamar Alexander (TN), Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN), Senator Rob Portman (OH), Senator Ron Wyden (OR), Congressman Mike Simpson (ID), Senator Jeff Bingaman (NM), Senator Susan Collins (ME), Senator Mark Udall (CO), Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (CA), Senator Harry Reid (NV), Congressman George Miller (CA), Senator John McCain (AZ), Senator Bob Graham (FL), Congressman John Lewis (GA), Congresswoman Connie Morella (MD), Congressman John Seiberling (OH), Lt Governor Lowell Thomas (AK).
All proceeds from the annual event benefit NPT’s park preservation and youth education programs.
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 provided nearly 20,000 children 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 in under-served communities.
From L to R: Lesette Nikki Jackson, Caesars HERO Community Relations; Buddy Bison, NPT Mascot; Yolanda Smith; and Grace Lee, NPT Executive Director.
Washington, DC (June 18, 2019) – National Park Trust (NPT) is pleased to announce that Yolanda Smith, a fifth-grade teacher from Richmond Avenue School in Atlantic City, NJ, is the recipient of National Park Trust’s 2019 National Educator Award for Outstanding Environmental Stewardship.
Thanks to sponsorship from the Caesars Foundation as well as local property support, Richmond Avenue has been able to participate in NPT’s national Buddy Bison School Program since 2013. Yolanda has served as the lead teacher for the multi-year partnership. Over the course of her involvement in the program, Yolanda has developed and implemented an in-depth advanced science program and created a customized curriculum that uses parks as outdoor classrooms. Yolanda also developed her own learning objectives for each park field trip to ensure that all of her students walked away with knowledge gained from their hands-on experiences.
In 2014, Yolanda’s classroom participated in the first ever Buddy Bison Carbon Reduction Contest which aims to teach elementary school children how to identify, measure, and reduce their impact on the environment. Each year, students from different schools take nine different action items included in NPT’s contest toolkit to reduce their carbon footprint. Yolanda’s class won the 2017 Carbon Reduction Contest; they prevented 956 lbs of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the air.
Yolanda Smith accepting her award from Grace Lee, Executive Director of National Park Trust.
Furthermore, Yolanda’s classroom initiatives not only taught her students the tangible impact of their carbon footprint but also led the way to energy-saving improvements school-wide, reducing their energy bill by $100,000. This remarkable development was noticed by the school district, resulting in changes that led to an $800,000 energy cost savings for their entire school district.
Yolanda Smith showing her award to one of her students.
Through the Buddy Bison program and its Carbon Reduction Contest, all of her students have learned how to reduce their carbon footprint and educate others. “We may be molding the next Neil deGrasse Tyson or Albert Einstein,” noted Yolanda as she talked about the impact she has seen on her students. “The possibilities are endless with the knowledge and exposure they have gained. We have taken part in training the next generation of young minds, ready to excel as environmental stewards leading us into the next millennium.”
“We were delighted to honor and recognize Yolanda Smith from Richmond Avenue School with our 2019 National Educator Award. Over the years she has gone above and beyond to connect her Buddy Bison students with the numerous benefits of the great outdoors. These students will be the future stewards of our parks,” stated NPT Executive Director Grace Lee.
“Participating in this program is truly a highlight for our HERO volunteers,” said Lesette Nikki Jackson. “The opportunity to create a new memorable experience for children is its own reward. Yolanda has made environmental education a priority for the students and staff of Richmond Avenue School, creating a positive ripple effect in the community. She has literally opened doors for city kids to go outside and experience all that nature has to offer. Watching the transformation when the students realize playing is an engaging experience and not just an app on a screen is an inspiration. We are excited to see what the future holds for these students and this great program.
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 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 Title I schools.
Caesars Foundation is a private foundation funded by a portion of operating income from resorts owned or operated by Caesars Entertainment. The Foundation is the entity through which Caesars Entertainment funds programs and projects of $10,000 or more, as well as not for-profit giving requirements imposed by certain operating jurisdictions. The Foundation’s objective is to strengthen organizations and programs in the communities where our employees and their families live and work.
WASHINGTON, May 9, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — In celebration of Kids to Parks Day, held annually the third Saturday in May, millions of Americans will join National Park Trust (NPT) and its many partners on May 18th to honor America’s parks and public lands by attending over 1,400 free park events in all 50 states and Washington, DC.
“National Park Trust hopes families across America will commemorate Kids to Parks Day by planning a fun family outing, attending a park event, or joining a collective celebration in what has become a national day of outdoor play and park appreciation,” said Grace Lee, executive director of NPT.
Mayors from more than 430 cities and towns –including Montgomery (AL), Tucson (AZ), Sacramento (CA), Denver (CO), Washington (DC), Honolulu (HI), Detroit (MI), Kansas City (MO), Las Vegas (NV), Newark (NJ), Albuquerque (NM), and Austin (TX) have signed resolutions of support.
Visitwww.kidstoparks.org for a complete list of park events by state and downloadabletips and activity guides to help children, families, and teachers plan park adventures. Those who pledge to participate and share their adventures with the hashtag #KidstoParks on May 18th will also have a chance to win a camping package from The North Face as well as other outdoor gear gifts from partners including National Geographic Kids, Eastern National and Parks Project.
Kids to Parks Day is the signature event of NPT’s popular Buddy Bison® School Program which teaches environmental education. Through its woolly mascot Buddy Bison, NPT encourages children to “Explore outdoors, the parks are yours!” 77 elementary and middle Title I schools, in 17 states and Washington, DC participate in the Buddy Bison School Program, which provides classroom resources and fully funded park trips that enhance and expand school curricula.
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, the US Virgin Islands, 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.
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.
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.
Photo by Audra Naccarato
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.
Photo by Audra Naccarato
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.