National Park Trust and Air Force Launch New Program Encouraging Military Families to Visit Parks and Public Lands





March 15, 2018
Contact: Samantha Jones, 301-279-7275 x 21


National Park Trust and Air Force Launch New Program Encouraging Military Families to Visit Parks and Public Lands

Rockville, MD – National Park Trust (NPT) is pleased to announce its partnership with the Air Force Services Activity (AFSVA) — with support from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Military Community and Family Policy — to launch the Buddy Bison Great Outdoors Challenge. The program’s goal is to encourage military families across the country to visit and enjoy America’s parks, public lands and waters.

The Buddy Bison Great Outdoors Challenge will connect families with local, state and national parks using NPT’s mascot, Buddy Bison and other NPT educational resources. Families will receive a Buddy Bison (a stuffed bison mascot) and a Buddy Bison passport or bingo card and are encouraged to collect stamps at Buddy Bison Stops found on Air Force installations and at parks in and around each base community.

“We are delighted to bring the benefits of our Buddy Bison Program to Air Force installations to encourage families to discover the many benefits of our country’s parks and public lands,” added Grace Lee, executive director of NPT.

“We are excited to partner with the National Park Trust to promote the use of park resources in our military families’ communities,” said Anthony Alcala, recreation specialist with AFSVA’s Child and Youth Programs.

The program will be piloted at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia; Hurlburt Field, Florida; Little Rock AFB, Arkansas; Hill AFB, Utah; F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming; Peterson AFB, Colorado; and the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado.

“This partnership gives our Air Force families opportunities to explore the great outdoors, strengthen family bonds and have fun while engaging in healthy activities,” said Fernando Brown, recreation specialist with AFSVA’s Outdoor Recreation.

Although every Air Force installation in the U.S. won’t currently be enrolled in the Buddy Bison program, all can participate in NPT’s Kids to Parks Day, held the third Saturday of May each year. This national day of outdoor play encourages exploring outdoor recreation, learning about science, technology, engineering and math; and embracing park stewardship, according to NPT’s web site.


NPT’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 48 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.