Twitter Facebook Fickr Buddy's Map

Can you guess this park? This arid landscape was once a leafy swamp during the Ice Age. Answer to last month: Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Did the Groundhog see his shadow this month? Whether we have an early spring or six more weeks of winter, Buddy Bison Schools are already back at it with all kinds of programs, from visiting raptors to historic ship tours.  Why don’t you take advantage of the next fee-free day on President’s Day, February 20? Brave the cold and get back outside too!
Explore outdoors, the parks are yours!

Buddy Bison

Last Chance to Win a Park Trip for Your School!

Hurry! The clock is winding down on our Kids to Parks Day National School Contest and the chance to win a park grant for your school! Last year we awarded 74 Title 1 schools with park grants. 

The 7th annual Kids to Parks (KTP) Day, a nationwide grassroots movement to celebrate America’s parks and public lands, is on Saturday, May 20, 2017. Are you interested in winning a grant so that your school can discover a park in your community? All Title I schools and school groups in the U.S. (grades preK through 12) are eligible for the contest. Students submit proposals for their KTP event, and National Park Trust then awards park scholarships of up to $1,000 to winning entries. Scholarships can be used by the winners to implement their KTP event this spring. The postmarked deadline for the contest is next week, Tuesday, February 14th. Winners will be announced Wednesday, March 1st.

Click here to learn more about the contest and download the entry form!

Follow us on social media for updates:
Twitter - @NatParkTrust
Instagram and Facebook - @NationalParkTrust

Questions? Contact Billy Schrack ( or Katie Zimmerman ( or call 301-279-7275.
Buddy Bison shows the way to the historic Balclutha.

Every Kid in a Ship

“Cast the main sail and swab the deck!” is the cry you’d hear if you were traveling on the historic three-masted ship Balclutha during its supply runs all over the world from the 1800s through the 1930s. Now Balclutha represents the history of the shipping industry and the people that worked during that time. The National Park Service, The North Face, and Outdoors Alliance for Kids joined me in January to host 50 fourth-grade students from Hoover Elementary School at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park in California where Balclutha is docked today. Here’s a cool fun fact: did you know that back in 1998, National Park Trust helped the park restore the deck of the Balclutha
The day started off with The North Face (TNF) athlete ambassadors and endurance runners, Dylan Bowman and Paddy O’Leary, who led activity stations and shared their passion for the outdoors. They engaged the fourth graders in a fun warm up and relay race to help inspire them to be active wherever they are. They were also welcomed by TNF’s Rachel Gray and Park Superintendent Kevin Hendricks who, along with the TNF volunteers, presented every student with their Every Kid in a Park pass which provides them and their families free entrance to any federal land or water until September. Learn how to obtain one for your fourth grader here! 

The students not only learned about the different ships at the park but also about the biology under them!

Dylan (left) and Paddy lead students in a relay race.

Hoover students look for aquatic organisms.
Safety is important when near water so everyone put on personal flotation devices. We then laid on our bellies (the park program’s name is “Belly Biology” - get it?) to find sea creatures that live near the docks and ships in the harbor. Some even live ON the docks and the ships! 

An enormous Buddy Bison thank you to The North Face for sponsoring this event and the four other Every Kid in the Park celebrations across the country. 
Patterson students in D.C. enjoyed meeting Rodney Stotts and a Eurasian eagle-owl.

Birds of a Feather Flock Together with Buddy Bison

Have you ever met a dinosaur? Well, that’s what the 4th graders from Patterson Elementary in Washington, D.C. did! According to some paleontologists, birds of prey, or raptors, are actually avian dinosaurs. Rodney Stotts from Earth Conservation Corps’ “Anacostia RaptorWatch” program, visited Patterson and brought two birds of prey with him: a Harris’s hawk and a Eurasian eagle-owl. We had a great time listening to him talk about the birds’ incredible adaptations that help them hunt their prey. Because these raptors are so well-trained, some of us were even allowed to touch them!

We were able to meet these fascinating birds thanks to support from the Diana Davis Spencer (DDS) Foundation, who is sponsoring Patterson Elementary in the Buddy Bison School Program this year. Rodney also visited another school sponsored by the DDS Foundation: The Children’s Guild DC Public Charter School. We bring kids to parks and parks to kids! 
Dr. Ilona E. Holland (right) signs a copy of Buddy Bison’s Yellowstone Adventure for a student from The Odyssey School. Their lower school principal, Marcia Peterson (in the background) dressed up like a ranger for the day. 

Behind the Scenes on Buddy’s First Book

Just before the new year, Dr. Ilona Holland, author of  Buddy Bison’s Yellowstone Adventure and I were invited to visit students from The Odyssey School in Stevenson, MD. At an all-lower-school assembly, Dr. Holland read and gave us a behind-the-scenes look into how the book was created before doing a book signing. 

The Odyssey School is making a positive impact on their community by focusing on education for children who have been diagnosed with dyslexia and other language differences. This engaging special assembly was a great opportunity to meet the author, and learn about the writing process and the mission of National Park Trust: preserving parks today and tomorrow!  These students have been studying national parks all year long in honor of the Centennial of the National Park Service, so this program was particularly relevant. Plus, each student was very excited to have a book and a Buddy Bison to take home with them. 

This program would not have been possible without support from our board member Stephen Schuler and his wife Megan, an Odyssey School tutor. Many thanks to Dr. Holland for making the trip to meet these wonderful students. It was a truly memorable day!  

Alex Riley at The Wilds Safari Park in Cumberland, OH. Photo courtesy of Nancy Riley. 

Preteen Celebrates His Birthday By Supporting Our Parks

How many preteens do you know that would give up birthday presents to support our national parks?  My newest friend Alex  Riley did just that. Check out his inspirational letter below:

“My name is Alex. I am 11 years old, and I chose instead of presents for my birthday party to donate to the National Park Trust. I wanted to do this because they help the National Park Service in a lot of projects promoting education and the environment. I like to go birding. I’ve been in places around the country looking for birds. Some of my favorites are the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Maumee Bay State Park, and the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Thank you for protecting parks and promoting education.”

If you also feel inspired by Alex’s story, check out our website to find out how you can support National Park Trust and the public lands you love!

Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Tigran at Petrified Forest National Park, AZ. Photo courtesy of Vahagn Nahabedian.

Ambassador Tigran: Extra Desert, Please!


Our Buddy Bison Student Ambassador, Tigran Nahabedian, knows that winter can be an exceptional time to visit national parks! Tigran and his family recently took me on an adventure to several national park units in Arizona. Read about some of Tigran’s trip highlights below:

“I love Arizona! It’s a great place for junior rangers. We packed our bags and after many hours of traveling, found ourselves in Organ Pipe Cactus National Park. We didn’t know much about it before we got there, and we weren’t alone. A ranger told us a story of a superintendent that missed the park and drove into Mexico. We pitched our tent and that night heard javelinas, a kind of peccary, right outside the tent. The next day we got a Junior Ranger booklet and went on a very bumpy scenic drive. Along the way, we stopped every time we saw water to look for tracks. We saw some good ones...including a mountain lion! The mountain lion had been spotted in the area and this one had BIG paws.  I love all the desert vegetation, but Buddy wouldn’t have enjoyed eating there—not much grass and lots of thorns.

One of the highlights of the trip was visiting the Petrified Forest National Park.The petrified wood is beautiful and I saw some amazing pieces. What I didn’t expect were all of the Native American cultural sites. I particularly liked the incredible petroglyphs.”

To read his full story of all the parks he traveled to in Arizona, check out this link.

Thanks, Tigran, for sharing your park adventures with us and for taking me along! To get your own Buddy Bison click here. Then share your park adventures with us too. We may feature you in a future issue of Buzz! Send your photos and stories to Katie Zimmerman at

Copyright © 2017 National Park Trust. All rights reserved.

401 E. Jefferson Street, Suite 207, Rockville, MD, 20850

Email: - Phone: 301.279.7275

Copyright © 2017 National Park Trust, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list