Krista Gordon: Inspiring Tomorrow’s Environmental Stewards

In late November, National Park Trust (NPT) received an early Christmas present: this amazing book (pictured below) from Krista Gordon in Bellingham, WA! It celebrates our partnership with her over the last few years.

Who is Krista Gordon you ask? In 2014, she was working as a substitute teacher at Alderwood Elementary when she first encouraged her students to apply to NPT’s Kids to Parks (KTP) Day School Contest. They won the grant and over 40 fourth graders found inspiration in the ocean and whales at Lime Kiln Point State Park, just like Krista had! The next year, Krista secured funding for nine more under-served schools to visit the park. Her efforts won her the “The Buddy Award” for Outstanding Environmental Stewardship from NPT.

Krista went on to found the Salish Sea Experience, a non-profit focused on “bringing learning to life to inspire tomorrow’s environmental stewards.” In the 5 years since that first field trip, we’ve helped support 9 trips there for 3 schools through the KTP Day National School Contest, involving over 420 students! Learn more about this incredible program by watching this video.

Thank you note from a Cordata student.


“The same elements that impact the sea’s health, impact ours. Students are empowered by learning how simple things, like recycling and picking up trash, protect marine life,” says Krista. “I wish you could see their eyes pop and their squeals of delight with each new vista they saw, each new discovery they made, or each new fact they learned. The whales are not something that can be controlled on this field trip. It is a matter of being in the right place at the right time. When students are in the right place, it is an experience they will never forget. It inspires them to become stewards. It is reason for hope that we can learn to take care of this amazing planet.”

“My son and I loved it!” said parent chaperone Antoinette. “The most valuable part was showing my son that there is more to the world than just where we live — not just telling him. I could not have done this on my own as a single mother without a car. This trip was everything I could have asked for.”

We hope that you find Krista Gordon’s story as inspiring as we did!

If you’re interested in funding a dream park trip of your own, you too can apply for a scholarship! You can win up to $1,000 through the Kids to Parks Day National School Contest. Kindergarten through 12th grade students at all Title I Schools across the country are eligible to apply!

The deadline for entries is Thursday, February 14, 2019 — that’s in just two months! Winners will be announced on NPT’s website Thursday, March 7, 2019.

Click here to learn more about the contest, download the entry form, and watch our school video from last year! Questions? Contact Katie Zimmerman, ( or call 301-279-7275. If you would like to help sponsor this program, contact Rebecca Hansell,