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Send a Kid to a Park

Can you guess this park? Hint: Don't forget your passport. Find out the answer next month. Photo courtesy of Frank Lee Ruggles Photography. Answer from last month: Zion National Park.

Even though the days are getting shorter, we can still have great park adventures together. Last month was an exciting one: the Wilderness Inquiry Canoemobile took our Buddy Bison schools paddling; I got to "meet" Abraham Lincoln; and one of our schools went on their first camping trip with me! Visit a park this month and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you'll see: smaller crowds and different wildlife. You can even try new activities. I never thought picking apples and drinking cider could be so much fun! Also mark your calendars: November 11 is Veterans Day and all National Parks are free. You can bet I’ll be outside!

Don’t forget to have a great Thanksgiving later this month too! Take a long hike with family or friends to work off all the food you eat.

Your friend,

Buddy Bison

Students from Beacon Heights Elementary get ready to paddle the Anacostia River at Bladensburg Waterfront Park (MD).

Canoemobile Returns

Do you remember hearing about those 24-foot, 400 lb. Voyageur canoes from Minnesota? Well, our friends from Wilderness Inquiry recently returned with these amazing canoes to work with 8 of our Buddy Bison schools.

Over a two-week period, nearly 1500 students explored their local waterways paddling on the Harlem River at Roberto Clemente State Park (NY), the Patapsco River at Muddy Branch Park (MD), the Anacostia River at Bladensburg Waterfront Park (MD) and Kenilworth Park (D.C.), and the Potomac River at Thompson Boat Center (D.C.).

For most, this was their first time canoeing and every participant left with huge smiles. In addition to learning about water safety and paddling technique, students experienced a variety of land-based activities focused on local wildlife, watersheds, and recycling.

Thanks to our partners from the National Park Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation, Izaak Walton League of America, Living Classrooms, and the Department of Energy & Environment, the students had an incredible and unique out-of-classroom learning experience.

Would you like to support an under-served school in your community? Contact Billy Schrack at

Third-grade students braved the cold camping with Buddy Bison at Watkins Regional Park (Upper Marlboro, MD).

Camping – at 35 Degrees!

Imagine a late fall camping adventure with your classmates in chilly weather. That’s exactly what one of our Buddy Bison schools did and I had to join in on the fun! The third grade from Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. spent the evening camping with me and our friends from Wilderness Inquiry at Watkins Regional Park in Upper Marlboro, MD. 

We secured a beautiful, woody campsite under the yellow and orange fall leaves so that the students were fully immersed in nature. We set up our campsite with gear provided by REI, then the students made observations about nature at night, and learned about certain night time animal adaptations. We made s’mores and sang campfire songs. Even though the temperature dipped to 35 degrees, the students all had a wonderful time. They can't wait to go camping again! Do you have camping adventures to share? Email your stories to

Tigran and Buddy Bison exploring the Mist Trail at Yosemite National Park. Photo courtesy of Chinna Nahabedian.

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

Tigran Nahabedian, our first Student Buddy Bison Ambassador, has some pretty exciting news to share. Do you remember when I celebrated the launch of President Barack Obama’s Every Kid in a Park initiative with fourth graders last month? Well Tigran has been selected to represent Every Kid in a Park and will appear in both the Scholastic Instructor and Administrator Magazines. Tigran continues to inspire students around the country to appreciate and protect our parks.

You can follow Tigran’s park adventures through social media on Twitter and Instagram (@jrRangerTigran). You can also follow my adventures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@NationalParkTrust). Use the hashtags #BuddyBison or #WheresBuddyBisonBeen on your park travels.

Buddy Bison with President Lincoln and Park Ranger Jennie Jones at the Lincoln Days event (Hodgenville, KY). Photo courtesy of NPS.

Is that Buddy Bison with Abraham Lincoln?

I recently met actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus and rapper Snoop Dogg. Last month, I "met" Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Days event in Hodgenville, Kentucky. Every year the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park celebrates the life and legacy of our 16th president by partnering with Lincoln Days Inc., Eastern National, and the town of Hodgenville. This annual event has taken place for more than 40 years, and activities include a Lincoln look-alike contest, oratory contest, rail splitting event, quilt show, art show, and a parade.  

During the two-day event, nearly 700 people stopped by the park's booth to meet me, have their picture taken, and get information about the park! A huge thanks to the rangers at Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park for this wonderful event.

Would you like to have Big Buddy Bison visit your park for a special event? Contact Collin Knauss at for more information.

A steady tripod helps capture the sharpness in this image of Canyonlands National Park. Photo courtesy of Frank Lee Ruggles Photography.

Buddy Bison's Photography Corner: Tripods

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 tripod:

“Tripods make for sharper pictures. Messing with focus, exposure settings, and shutter speeds while trying to hold the camera steady to frame your photo can be too much to manage at once. The simple solution is to use a tripod. Not only will your picture stay tack-sharp, but the little bit of extra setup time will give you a moment to study the composition to make sure it’s exactly what you want.” 

Thanks for the tip Frank! This will surely help get rid of the blurriness in my photos. It’s especially hard since I have to use my hooves to hold the camera! Don't forget to email me your photos and stories ( or share them on social media using #BuddyBison or #WheresBuddyBisonBeen.

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