NPT News - May 2012


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NPT News

Our mission: Preserving parks today; Creating park stewards for tomorrow. 

U.S. Senate Passes Resolution Declaring May 19th National Kids to Parks Day

Two days before National Kids to Parks Day on Saturday, May 19th, The U.S. Senate joined the Governors of Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Missouri, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington and 251 Mayors in 45 States and Washington, DC in officially recognizing this event. Tens of thousands of children will head to park events (go to for event listings) across the United States for a day many are calling the first national ‘play in.’

Senate Resolution 463 was introduced by Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) and co-sponsored by Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Senator Lisa Murkowski (R- AK) and Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). “We are so pleased to have bi-partisan support for the Second Annual National Kids to Parks Day,” said Bill Brownell, Chair, National Park Trust Board of Trustees – the founding organization of National Kids to Parks Day. “This event will help remind families across America to engage our youth with the natural and historic treasures and the pure fun available in neighborhood, state and national parks as the summer season begins.”

National Kids to Parks Day has been endorsed by: Department of the Interior’s Youth in the Great Outdoors; American Academy of Pediatrics; National Education Association; and the Western Governors’ Association among many others. ( for complete list). To read the full press release, click here.

Glacier National Park Preservation Project Nears Completion


Protection of the second largest privately held parcel in Glacier National Park is nearing completion. NPT and its partner, the Trust for Public Land have been advocating jointly to protect this parcel. With help from Montana Senator Jon Tester, funds have been allocated to acquire the 120-acre property, which is located in the southwest border of the park along the Middle Fork of the Flathead Wild and Scenic River. This river valley attracts hikers, equestrian riders, rafters, and anglers. In addition to securing recreation access, the tract will protect a significant wildlife habitat zone between the national park and the Great Bear Wilderness in the Flathead National Forest and is part of NPS’ Crown of the Continent initiative.
Several steps need to be completed before the property can be transferred to the National Park Service, but the property is well on its way to being protected within the park in perpetuity.

12th Annual Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award – June 13, 2012                                        

National Park Trust will honor Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico with the 2012 Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award during an evening reception on June 13th at the Newseum in Washington, DC.

Established in 2000 to honor the memory and legacy of Bruce F. Vento, a twelve-term Congressman from Minnesota, the Vento Award honors a public servant for his or her commitment to the environment, and his or her service, skill and innovation in support of our public lands. This year, National Park Trust is pleased to recognize Senator Bingaman for his outstanding record in park preservation and environmental stewardship. Click here to read the full press release.

All proceeds from the event benefit NPT's park preservation and youth education programs. We would like to recognize and thank our early lead sponsors for this year’s event:

For more information about the event, sponsorships, and to purchase tickets, please contact:

Shana Newman Fajardo (301) 279-7275 ext. 15 /

With Buddy Bison, Thousands of Students Discover the Wonders of the Outdoors

Longfellow students at the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail prepare for a hike over the Missouri River on the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge
St. Ignatius Loyola Academy (Baltimore, MD) begin their canoe journey down the Anacostia River.
DC Metro-area students with Buddy Bison during the Get to Know event at the U.S. Botanic Garden
Students from Chester, PA rarely get the chance to experience open outdoor space, and when they did, they took the opportunity to fully explore the expansive fields of Valley Forge National Historical Park.
A Beauvoir student holds up her "grass-head" – one of the many creations for sale at their flea market
Joseph Craig Elementary (New Orleans, LA) students learning about swamp ecology.
KIPP DC students listen to NPT education director Billy Schrack while hiking at the U.S. Arboretum
Gorenflo Elementary (Biloxi, MS) students in the Gulf Islands National Seashore Visitor Center.
Bullis students making their final bow to a very pleased audience after performing "Get Out".
Harmony Hills students with Buddy Bison and Mr. and Mrs. Czaja at the Patuxent Research Refuge

As the third year of the Where's Buddy Bison Been? school program comes to a close, NPT is proud that thousands of students had a transformational outdoor experience. The program was created three years ago to reverse a disturbing trend – our nation's youth are spending less time outside, and more time indoors, than ever before. Many kids growing up in urban areas have no connection with nature whatsoever.

Through the Buddy Bison program, students are discovering the health and educational benefits of spending time in nature. Most important, they are learning that exploring outdoors is a whole lot of fun! With the help of Buddy Bison, students are fostering an appreciation for our nation's parks and open spaces which will help them to become the park stewards of tomorrow – those who will protect our treasured natural areas for years to come.

Here is a recap of our students adventures with Buddy Bison over the past month: 

  • Thanks to generous funding from Caesars Entertainment and the outstanding efforts of their HERO volunteers, the fourth graders of Longfellow Elementary School in Council Bluffs, IA had a park experience at the Lewis and Clark National Historical Trail. Located in Omaha, NE, the park offered the students a first-hand learning experience centered around the amazing journey Lewis and Clark embarked on over 200 years ago. A highlight of the trip was an educational riverboat trip down the Missouri River. For many of the students, it was the first time they had ever set foot on a boat.
  • The kindergarten class at Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary School in Washington, DC raised "Pennies for Parks" during their flea market which was held in the courtyard of their school. Big Buddy Bison was in attendance as parents and teachers made their way through the flea market to purchase arts and crafts created from recycled materials by the students. They also sold plants and grasses which were grown in the school garden. The resources raised from the flea market will be used to fund one or more of NPT's park preservation programs – the students will select which ones. Click here to see video footage of the kindergartners at the flea market! 
  • Fifth graders from KIPP DC: WILL Academy in Washington, DC visited the U.S. National Arboretum for an adventurous time learning about trees and other vegetation. The students learned the intricacies of a growing plants and vegetables on their walk through a youth garden, participated in a scavenger hunt through the bonsai tree exhibit and observed a variety of local wildlife and fauna on a hike through the forest. 
  • Third graders from the Bullis School in Potomac, MD acted out the Buddy Bison musical "Get Out", which was written by Rob Cohen – who was in attendance. Rob is the husband of Carolyn Cohen, the teacher of the third grade class and the first recipient of National Park Trust’s “Buddy” Award – bestowed annually to a teacher for excellence in environmental stewardship. The musical has a theme of the importance of getting outside to play and rediscovering the wonders of nature.
  • Second graders from Harmony Hills Elementary School in Silver Spring, MD visited the Patuxent Research Refuge in Laurel, MD. The students went on a off-road tram ride around Cash Lake where they viewed turtles, hawks, osprey, and other wildlife. They learned about native plants and animals on a ranger led hike and were taught about endangered species as they made their way through the visitor center. The second graders also learned how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is protecting our nation's wild neighbors.
                                     Harmony Hills students participate in a ranger-led hike through the Patuxent Research Refuge
National Park Trust  /  401 E. Jefferson Street, Suite 102  /  Rockville, MD 20850  /  Email:  /