National Park Trust invites YOU and students across the country to participate in the 8th annual Kids to Parks Day, a nationwide grassroots movement celebrating America’s parks and public lands. Kids to Parks Day takes place every year on the third Saturday of May. In 2018, it will be Saturday, May 19th.
In honor of this day of outdoor play, we are once again hosting the Kids to Parks Day (KTP) National School Contest to help educators engage their students with their local parks through education, outdoor recreation, and stewardship. This national contest is open to all Title I (that means 40% of students qualify for free and reduced-priced lunch) schools and school groups in the U.S. (grades preK through 12). Students can submit proposals to fund their KTP Day event in May 2018 at a park or public lands/waterways in their community. We will award park scholarships up to $1,000 to winning entries. Last year, 70 schools received park grants. The contest opens October 1st and closes the February 1st, 2018. Winners will be announced Tuesday, February 14th – Valentine’s Day.
2017 was a record-breaking year for National Park Trust’s Kids to Parks (KTP) Day! More than 1-million people participated in over 1,700 Kids to Parks Day events coast to coast – Alaska and Hawaii, too! Plus 3,764 students from 70 schools representing 28 states and Washington, D.C. benefited from NPT’s Kids to Parks Day National School Contest.
Watch this short Kids to Parks Day summary video featuring many of the students, most from Title 1 schools, who received park grants this past school year. Each winning proposal–written by the students!–incorporated education, outdoor recreation, and park stewardship. A sincere thanks to our lead sponsor, Northside! Their support of KTP Day 2017 funded many of these park experiences.
Do you know of a Title I school that would benefit from a park grant? Then let them know that our next school contest will open in October 2017 and will be featured in an upcoming issue of NPT News.
Save the date, KTP Day 2018 is May 19th! (Always the third Saturday in May.)
Join the conversation on Twitter: @natparktrust #kidstoparks #buddybison
Share your park experience on Facebook and Instagram: @nationalparktrust #kidstoparks #buddybison
7TH ANNUAL ‘KIDS TO PARKS DAY’ SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2017 A NATIONAL CELEBRATION OF PARKS
(Left: photo courtesy of National Park Trust; Right: photo courtesy of Hike It Baby)
Washington, D.C., May 8, 2017 – Children, families and schools in communities across America will celebrate their local, state and national parks and public lands on Saturday, May 20th in commemoration of the 7th Annual Kids to Parks Day. National Park Trust estimates that nearly one million people will attend 1,000 park events across the country in what is fast becoming America’s national day of outdoor play.
“Children of all ages – in unprecedented numbers – will be engaging with our local, state and national parks on May 20th,” said Grace Lee, executive director, National Park Trust. “We are excited to collaborate this year with Hike it Baby, engaging our youngest park stewards and families with 200 Hike it Baby events planned across America to celebrate Kids to Parks Day.”
Mayors from more than 350 cities and towns – including Chicago (IL), Boston (MA), Philadelphia (PA), Orlando (FL), Dallas (TX), San Diego (CA), Atlanta (GA), Tucson (AZ), Chattanooga (TN), Portland (OR), Vineland (NJ), Denver (CO), and Youngstown (OH) have signed resolutions of support and are planning Kids to Parks Day events on May 20th.
Visit www.kidstoparks.org for a complete list of park events by state and downloadabletips and activity guides to help children, families and teachers plan park adventures. Those who pledge to participate will also have a chance to win a camping package from The North Face including a tent, 4 sleeping bags and a duffel bag.
Kids to Parks Day national sponsors include:
Guest Services, Inc.
Boy Scouts of America
PBS Kids’ Nature Cat
The North Face
National Park Trust’s Kids to Parks Day has the support of the National Park Service and America’s State Parks. Other NPT collaborators include: the National League of Cities’ Institute for Youth, Education, and Families; American Academy of Pediatrics; National Recreation and Park Association; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; National Geographic Kids; American Hiking Society; Children & Nature Network; National Wildlife Federation; Sierra Club; Outdoors Alliance for Kids; National Environmental Education Foundation; American Recreation Coalition; National Parks Conservation Association; The Wilderness Society; Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital; and Outdoor Families Magazine.
Kids to Parks Day is the signature event of NPT’s popular Buddy Bison® School Program which teaches environmental education. Through its woolly mascot Buddy Bison, NPT encourages children to “Explore outdoors, the parks are yours!” More than 60 elementary and middle Title I schools in 15 states and Washington, D.C. participate in the Buddy Bison School Program, which provides classroom resources and fully funded park trips that enhance and expand school curricula.
In 2012, NPT launched the Kids to Parks Day National School Contest. This year, NPT awarded park grants to 70 Title I schools in 28 states and Washington, D.C. benefiting nearly 4,000 children, grades pre-K through 12. The grants will help students put their ideas into action and visit, learn, steward and play in their local, state and national parks and public lands this month.
ABOUT NATIONAL PARK TRUST
National Park Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to the preservation and protection of our national parks and the engagement of our youth – especially those who are under-served – with our country’s public lands and water. As people spend more time indoors and as successive generations grow up with less of a connection to nature, NPT wants everyone to have an American park experience. To achieve this, NPT is preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow (parktrust.org; kidstoparks.org).
Senate Passes Bipartisan Resolution Designating May 20 “Kids to Parks Day”
Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., and Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii, applauded the Senate’s passage of their bipartisan resolution to encourage children to get outdoors by designating May 20 National Kids to Parks Day.
The seventh annual Kids to Parks Day kicks off a summer-long series of events at local, state and national parks. Kids to Parks Day began in 2011 with the National Park Trust.
More than 731,000 people participated in last year’s Kids to Parks Day, according to the National Park Trust.
“Oregon’s beautiful rivers, mountains and forests give Oregonians a special connection to the outdoors that starts early and lasts a lifetime,” Wyden said after the Senate passed the resolution on Wednesday. “Kids to Parks Day builds on that connection by encouraging young people to get outside, enjoy the outdoors and engage in healthy recreation.”
“I’ve come to realize that I was one of the luckiest guys in the world because I grew up in Maryville, Tenn., which means I grew up next to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. When you grow up next to a national park, you really grow up in the park – spending your weekends and special times there, and the park looms large in many of your childhood memories,” Alexander said. “It is my hope that children across the country will take some time to celebrate Kids to Parks Day on May 20. I hope they go explore our country’s national parks and create their own memories.”
“Our parks are a national treasure where New Jerseyans and all Americans can appreciate the natural environment and the great outdoors,” Booker said. “Kids to Parks Day encourages children and families to get outside and enjoy our local, state, and national parks. I encourage everyone to take part on May 20th.”
“I am proud to support the Kids to Parks Day Resolution to encourage youth and their families to visit our treasured national parks,” Portman said. “It’s important to encourage our younger generations to enjoy and experience the outdoors, and I’m pleased that thousands of kids in Ohio will be visiting and learning about our national treasures on Kids to Parks Day.”
“Our parks and public lands offer endless opportunities for kids to explore, learn, and play,” Heinrich said. “Connecting kids to the outdoors, whether it’s playing in the local park down the street or hiking and camping in a national park, can inspire a lifelong connection to conservation, while reaping all of the health benefits that go along with an active lifestyle.”
“Our parks offer an important environment for our keiki to play in, learn, and explore Hawaii’s natural resources,” Hirono said. “We currently have over 50 state and national parks in Hawaii. Through encouraging our ohana to get outdoors and stay active, we can help plant the seeds of success in our keiki – promoting healthy outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship for years to come.”
The seventh annual Kids to Parks Day will be Saturday, May 20, 2017. To find a list of events near you, click here.