Gift from the Wyss Foundation Provides Outdoor Education for Thousands of Students

Washington, DC – Thanks to a generous $200,000 gift from the Wyss Foundation to National Park Trust (NPT), 27 Title I schools received funding to bring 1,865 students to parks through the Buddy Bison School Program in the 2017-2018 school year. This unrestricted gift also supported NPT’s Kids to Parks Day School Contest which provided 109 park grants to 92 schools, allowing 5,100 students to visit parks, become park stewards, and experience STEM learning in an outdoor classroom.

The gift from the Wyss Foundation is the second received by NPT, and has allowed the organization, a national non-profit, to provide robust outdoor education opportunities to children across the nation. In total, the funding from the Wyss Foundation has supported over 8,000 school students since their first gift in 2017.

“We are truly excited about supporting this effort to connect a new generation of young people to some of our great national parks,” said Wyss Foundation president, Molly McUsic.  “We hope others will also take part and support the Buddy Bison School Program and the Kids to Parks Day School Contest which enable thousands of children to enjoy and learn in the great outdoors.”

“This generous unrestricted funding for our youth programs allows us to continue our commitment to these schools and their dedicated teachers, and benefit thousands of children each year,” said Grace Lee, executive director of NPT. “The Wyss Foundation gift has also inspired many others to join their efforts to help us connect kids across the country with the wonder and beauty of the great outdoors.”

Tracey Zatek, 5th grade teacher at Chester Community Charter School (PA), one of the schools supported by the Wyss Foundation, shared this about her student’s trip to Valley Forge National Historical Park, “It meant so much to the staff and students to be given the chance to experience one of our national parks. Our students are rarely given the chance to see outside of Chester [PA]. From the time the [park ranger] began, I noticed a complete wave of happiness sweep over them. They were so engrossed in what they were learning; it truly made history come to life.”

Dontae, a 4th grader at Bennett Elementary (NV) who went with his class to Hualapai Mountain Park to study the impact that elevation has on the ecosystem and native species, shared, “You don’t even know us and you let us have a field trip!”

National Park Trust provides environmental education to elementary and middle schools in under-served communities. In 2018, NPT’s youth programs supported over 16,000 students from 212 Title I schools in 38 states and Washington, D.C. with 350+ trips to local, state, and national parks, public lands and waters.



National Park Trust’s mission is preserving parks today; creating park stewards for tomorrow. In the 35 years since NPT was established, the non-profit organization has completed more than 60 land acquisition, restoration, and mitigation projects in 30 states, 1 U.S. Territory and Washington, D.C. including 49 National Park Service projects. In 2009, NPT launched its nationally recognized Buddy Bison Programs which currently supports more than 200 Title I schools across the country. Since 2011, NPT has organized Kids to Parks Day, an annual national celebration of America’s parks hosted on the third Saturday in May. For more details about NPT can be found at



The Wyss Foundation is a private, charitable foundation dedicated to supporting innovative, lasting solutions that improve lives, empower communities, and strengthen connections to the land.  Since its establishment in 1998, the Wyss Foundation has helped local communities, land trusts and nonprofit partners permanently protect more than 20 million acres of land across the American West and nearly 10 million acres internationally. These lands are now conserved in perpetuity for current and future generations to explore and enjoy.