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Send a Kid to a Park

Can you guess this park? Hint: You can catch the subway here.

Find out the answer next month. Photo courtesy of Frank Lee

Ruggles Photography. Answer from last month: Horseshoe Bend, AZ 

Fall is in the air! Now that October has arrived, I am spending more time outdoors before the colder winter months get here. The leaves will be changing too, and it's a great opportunity to see new wildlife in their natural habitats. Are you a fourth grader? Then you can get a free park pass! Read more below.

I hope you have a wonderful Halloween! Don't forget to put on your best costume and be sure to share pictures.

Your friend,

Buddy Bison

Buddy Bison looking as cool as ever with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Snoop Dogg.

Buddy Bison Meets Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Snoop Dogg

You know it's a pretty good day when you meet actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus and rapper Snoop Dogg - at the same timeAccording to Julia, "my friend Snoop says 'Bison is nice-n.'" Thanks so much for the shout-out and for encouraging kids and adults to visit our national parks.

Students from Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School celebrate after receiving their Every Kid in a Park passes at Rock Creek Park (Washington, D.C.).

Let's Get Every Fourth Grader in a Park!

It’s a great time to be a fourth grader! To celebrate President Barack Obama’s Every Kid in a Park initiative, I brought more than 110 Buddy Bison students from Beacon Heights Elementary (Maryland) and Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School (Washington, D.C.) to Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C for a signature kick-off event. The President's initiative aims to get all fourth graders and their families outside to our federal lands and waters. Vouchers for free admission can be obtained by visiting the Every Kid in a Park website. The event at Rock Creek Park was hosted in partnership with the Outdoor Alliance for Kids – of which NPT is a member. After the excited students were greeted by Buddy Bison, they met several special guests including Christy Goldfuss, managing director for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and Johnathan B. Jarvis, director of the National Park Service, who reminded them about the importance of preserving our nation's parks. Right before the activities started, the students received their very own Every Kid in a Park passes. What are you waiting for? Get yours today!

Thanks to help from national park rangers, the Izaak Walton League of America, and REI, the students participated in a variety of fun and engaging park activities including hiking the trails, learning about the local watershed and wildlife, and even creating their own topographic maps using Play-Doh. We couldn’t have asked for a better day! Check out photos from the event here.

A huge Buddy Bison thanks to Pepco for supporting Beacon Heights Elementary each year!

Tigran and Buddy Bison travel to Yosemite National Park.

Tigran's Travels: Where's Buddy Bison Been?

Tigran Nahabedian, our first Student Buddy Bison Ambassador, is back with another amazing story to share. Read about his recent trip to Yosemite National Park below:

“Buddy Bison and I went on a vacation to Yosemite National Park. It was a really special trip for me because I have wanted to visit Yosemite for a long time. The first time we couldn’t go because of fires and the second time because I was invited to go to the White House garden planting with First Lady Michelle Obama. Yosemite exceeded my expectations. I camped Bridalvail Creek and Wawona – both were beautiful with lots of trees.

I hiked waterfalls, climbed over rocks, slid down rocks (and ruined my pants), went on a bear walk with Ranger Jill (but didn’t see any bears), hiked to a mountain lake and saw how early pioneers lived in the Sierras. The highlights of the trip were free climbing El Capitan with Buddy – although we weren’t even close to summiting – and hiking the Mist Trail. At the waterfall on the Mist Trail we took a picture with Buddy and it looked like rainbows were shooting from his ears. At the Pioneer History Center, I watched a blacksmith shape a leaf out of steel. It is amazing how many steps it takes to make a beautiful tiny leaf.”

What a fantastic camping trip Tigran! Follow Tigran’s park adventures through social media on Twitter and Instagram (@jrRangerTigran). You can also follow Buddy Bison’s adventures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@NationalParkTrust). Remember to use the hashtags #BuddyBison or #WheresBuddyBisonBeen on your park travels.

The darkest skies produce the best stargazing opportunities as seen here in Grand Teton National Park.

Look Up to the Stars

One of the most incredible outdoor experiences happens when the sun goes down. Stargazing in complete darkness is a truly unique experience that is unfortunately challenging for most people living near cities to achieve. Did you know that some of the best places to experience the darkest skies are in national parks? Imagine a full day hiking through the beautiful scenery and then spending the night at the park campground looking up at more than 15,000 stars throughout the night! People who live in or near cities may only catch 500 stars at night, and it won’t be nearly as clear. National parks with the darkest skies often have popular night sky ranger programs so we can all become more knowledgeable stargazers. Next time you are searching for a new adventure, check out the International Dark-Sky Association’s list of the darkest parks and get excited as the brilliant scene unfolds after the sun sets.

A polarizing filter helps turn the sky a rich blue color at Casa Grade Ruins National Monument (AZ).

Buddy Bison's Photography Corner: The Polarizing Filter

As we all know, one of the best ways to capture the fun times we have while exploring American’s parks is through photographs. NPT’s Artist Ambassador Frank Lee Ruggles, a former official photographer for the National Park Service, has taken tens of thousands of photographs in America’s parks and has oodles of expert tips to share. Here’s what Frank has to say about using a polarizing filter for your photos:

“Photos of blue skies are often less vibrant than what we see with our naked eye. A polarizing filter can make a big difference. Attach the filter to your lens (or hold it in front of your point and shoot camera) and rotate it until you see the sky in the viewfinder turn a deep and dark rich blue color.”

Great advice Frank! I always get excited when the sky has a deep blue color, so I will use this tip to capture this in my photos. Don't forget to email me your photos and stories  ( or share them on social media using #BuddyBison or #WheresBuddyBisonBeen.

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