NPT News - June 2012


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NPT News
Our mission: Preserving parks today; Creating park stewards for tomorrow.
In this month's issue:
Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico Honored by National Park Trust

Senator Bingaman with NPT Chair Bill Brownell and Vice Chair Diana Leon Taylor
On Wednesday, June 13th, at the Newseum in Washington, DC, Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico was presented with National Park Trust's Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award. Established in 2000, the award honors the legacy of Congressman Bruce F. Vento of Minnesota – a 12-term member and former chair of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forest, and Public Lands. As the committee chair, Vento passed more park legislation than any other previous chairman. Each recipient of the Vento Award has expanded the nation's understanding of what it means to have a lifelong legacy and commitment to protecting America's treasured parks and other natural areas. Upon receiving the award, Senator Bingaman stated, "I appreciate the recognition the Trust has given to me tonight, and I am particularly honored because it is an award named for Bruce Vento."

NPT honored Senator Bingaman for his outstanding record in park preservation and environmental stewardship. One of his more recent accomplishments in his three decades of Senate service was working to expand opportunities for young people through partnerships with public land managers through the Public Lands Service Corps Act of 2011. Senator Bingaman also has introduced legislation to transfer the Valles Caldera National Preserve to the National Park Service in order to protect the Preserve's many outstanding natural and cultural resources. Senator Bingaman co-sponsored a Congressional resolution officially recognizing NPT's inaugural National Kids to Parks Day in 2011, and he took a leadership role on the Outdoor Resources Review Group to address park systems and their relationship between outdoor recreation, health and wellness. READ MORE »

Buddy Bison Students Impress with Speeches at Vento Event

Buddy Bison student Treasure Brown spoke about her experiences in NPT’s program
Shortly before Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico was presented with National Park Trust’s Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award, three students from the Washington, DC area who participate in NPT’s Buddy Bison school program had the opportunity to speak. Standing in front of an audience including conservation leaders and members of Congress, the students – Edwin Alfaro (6th grade) from Deerfield Run Elementary School and Treasure Brown (4th grade) and Kaleb Randall (6th grade) from Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School – delivered powerful, well-articulated speeches that set the tone for the entire evening.

The students’ speeches described how their experience with NPT’s Buddy Bison school program taught them the importance of protecting our parks and appreciating nature. Each of them reflected on a their numerous park trips and outdoor exploration which opened their eyes to the opportunity to promote park stewarship in their schools and communities. They went on to thank Senator Bingaman for his work in Congress which serves as their inspiration. Fourth-grader Treasure Brown remarked, “I would like to congratulate Senator Bingaman on receiving this award. It must make your heart full, that you are able to touch so many lives with your actions. I hope to one day be able to accomplish something so great as well.” READ MORE »
More than 100,000 Prove National Kids to Parks Day is Here to Stay

May B. Leasure Elementary School in Newark, DE visited the Capitan John Smith National Historic Trail on National Kids to Parks Day
The second annual National Kids to Parks Day event took place on May 19, 2012, bringing more than 107,000 kids and families across the country to parks, public lands and waterways for a day of fun. With the launch of a brand new website – – participants were able to create and find events in their community. More than 250 events were registered. The coverage and support of this year’s event was truly remarkable: 260 mayors in 45 states and Washington, DC issued proclamations; 8 governors proclaimed May 19th as National Kids to Parks Day (WA, CO, FL, MD, VA, VT, WV, MO); a Senate resolution introduced by Senator Mark Udall (CO) and co-sponsored by Senators Jeff Bingaman (NM), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and Rob Portman (OH) was passed; and that weekend there were more than 189,000 Google media hits from national and local media organizations.

With the simple goal of connecting our youth to parks and the natural world combined with incredible support from both the general public and government across the country, there is no question that National Kids to Parks Day is here to stay. National Park Trust has lofty goals for next year – we plan on bringing 200,000 kids and families outdoors for National Kids to Parks Day 2013. It’s not too early to start spreading the message – visit for more information.

Save the date: The next National Kids to Parks Day is May 18, 2013!
A True “Buddy” for Baltimore Youth – Our 2012 National Teacher Award Recipient

Anne Porterfield with some of her students at St. Ignatius Loyola Academy in Baltimore, MD
A quiet walk beneath the canopy of a deciduous forest, the melodic chirping of various species of birds, a breeze flowing through the high grasses of a hillside meadow – these experiences are not part of the daily reality of the elementary school student living in Baltimore, MD. Instead, Anne Porterfield’s students at St. Ignatius Loyola Academy are more familiar with the noise from frustrated commuters combating traffic; the sounds of squealing tires and pedestrians shouting into cell phones. The world they know is one of big businesses and billboards, corner stores and high-rise condominiums, pavement and parking lots.

This is exactly the reason Anne Porterfield, a reading teacher, has embraced the Buddy Bison program at her school. Partnering with National Park Trust, Anne has provided her students with an experience which, for most of them, is completely new – an unobstructed immersion in the natural world. National Park Trust recently awarded Anne with "The Buddy" National Teacher Award for Outstanding Environmental Stewardship. This is National Park Trust’s annual award recognizing an educator who understands the importance of a strong connection with the natural world and skillfully reciprocates this knowledge to their students. For her work with the students of St. Ignatius Loyola Academy, there is no one more deserving. READ MORE » has a New Look!

National Park Trust recently updated its website – We invite you to visit the site where you will find new tools to connect to parks in your community and get involved in NPT’s successful park preservation and Kids to Parks programs.

NPT has a new home too! Thanks to your support and the rapid growth of our programs, we have outgrown our old space.

Our new address is: 401 E. Jefferson St. #203 Rockville, MD 20850

Find Buddy Bison at Top Ten Most-Visited National Parks

In a recent article, USA Today lists the top ten most-visited national parks alongside some great photos and information on individual park attractions. You can read the article by clicking here.

As our Where's Buddy Bison Been? program continues to grow as a tool to connect youth across the country with our parks, our miniature Buddy Bison has appeared in four of the national parks listed on the top ten: Yellowstone, Zion, Grand Teton and Cuyahoga Valley. Now, the millions of people visiting these parks – many of whom are kids – can bring Buddy along on their adventure as a source of inspiration for exploring outdoors.

You can also purchase your own Buddy Bison before your park trip by clicking here! When you purchase a Buddy Bison you help send a kid to a park through NPT's Kids to Parks National Scholarship Fund. Keep us updated on your trips with Buddy! Send pictures and stories to!

More than a Decade Later, this Prairie Still Stands Tall 

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Kansas
In one of the most successful park preservation projects in National Park Trust’s history, the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Kansas became the nation’s only national park dedicated to the tallgrass prairie in 1996 when the organization purchased nearly 4,000 hectares from the Z Bar-Spring Hill Ranch.

Years later, the national preserve is thriving, and visitors travel from all over the country to view the undisturbed grasslands that once dominated the landscape of the Midwest. Hundreds of years ago, bison roamed the lands freely, in large numbers. Since its creation, the park has made an ongoing effort to re-introduce bison to the prairie and grow their population. The park also just opened a brand new visitor center this year. The low-profile visitor center has a grassed over roof which was designed to be visually unobtrusive on the prairie landscape.

To learn more about the current status of Tallgrass Prairie, there is a great article from Voice of America which features an audio recording about the park. You can read the article here.
A New View on City Parks

A new tool from The Trust for Public Land – ParkScore™ – ranks the 40 largest cities in the United States by how well they are meeting their resident's need for parks. The cities are ranked through a comprehensive system that takes into account acreage, accessibility, and park services.

The cities of San Francisco, Sacramento, New York, Boston and Washington, DC make up the top five. Cities that find themselves on the bottom of the list and "need improvement" include Indianapolis, Louisville, Charlotte and Fresno. Along with rankings, the site also provides specific ways each city can improve its ParkScore™.

You can find out how your city ranks by visiting!
National Park Trust  /  401 E. Jefferson Street, Suite 203  /  Rockville, MD 20850  /  Email:  /