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 served as an 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.”
Treasure also described the sense of accomplishment she felt after organizing a group of classmates to pick up litter on the National Mall for NPT’s first-ever National Kids to Parks Day in 2011 – a day which was officially recognized in a Senate Resolution co-sponsored by Senator Bingaman.
The Senator listened attentively to each student speaker, smiling at their words and joining the rest of the audience in loud applause as they finished. During his own speech after accepting the award, he acknowledged each student, clearly impressed by what they had to say. “If we are raising people with the attitudes that these young people have expressed this evening I think the country will be in good hands. The experience they’ve had in our great outdoors and parks will serve them well in everything they do.”