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Can you guess this park? The scenery here is so unusual that it has been used as the setting for many movies. Answer for last month: Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Happy New Year!

Have you seen our 60-second recap video highlighting our schools? 2016 marks the end of the National Park Service's Centennial celebration, but don't worry! If you didn’t Find Your Park last year, there is no better time to start your search! Check out Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell's grandson, Sawyer, with his new friend Buddy Bison at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park last August on the Centennial.

As many of you already know, 2016 was an epic year for the Buddy Bison School Program and the culmination of 8 years of our work with the Obama Administration. Read a special tribute from National Park Trust's Executive Director Grace Lee at the end of this newsletter.

Finally the first fee-free day this year at national parks is on January 16 in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. What are you waiting for?
 Sawyer Jewell. Photo credit: Peter Jewell.
Bundle up, get outside, and go!

Buddy Bison

This Valentine's Day, Give the Gift of Parks!

There is still time to enter our Kids to Parks Day National School Contest and win a park grant for your school!

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? The new year is the perfect time to plan a park trip for the spring. All Title I schools and school groups in the U.S. (grades preK through 12) are eligible for the contest. Students can submit proposals for their KTP event. National Park Trust will award 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 deadline for the contest is Tuesday, February 14th. Winners will be announced Wednesday, March 1st.

This year, we'd like to give a big shout out to our newest national sponsor of Kids to Parks Day, Northside USA! Northside's $50,000 sponsorship will help us provide grants for many of our contest winners. Last year, we awarded 100 grants benefiting 74 schools. 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.
Ranger Smiley led school groups as they explored Morristown National Historic Park (NJ).

On the Trail with History

This past fall we kicked off the second year of our work to support President Obama's Every Kid in a Park initiative by providing transportation for 4th grade students from Newark, NJ to Morristown National Historical Park. Over 400 students ventured to the Continental Army's winter encampment. Students participated in a scavenger hunt at the Wick House to learn about 18th century life. In addition, they hiked with the park rangers, including Ranger Vanessa Smiley, through a trail system originally established by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. This spring 300 more 4th graders will visit the park.

This was all made possible thanks to generous support from the National Park Foundation. Thanks to their funding, we will also be able to bring 4th graders to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (ID), the National Colonial Farm at Piscataway Park (MD), and Big Thicket National Preserve (TX), benefiting approximately 2000 kids total from Title I schools across the country!
Kindergarteners from Harmony Hills Elementary in Silver Spring, MD search for the long-nosed gar at Anacostia Park.

Seeing Biology In Action

Just before the end of 2016, I joined 120 kindergarteners from Harmony Hills Elementary in Silver Spring, MD over the course of three days at the Aquatic Resources Education Center (AREC) at Anacostia Park, where we learned about frogs, turtles, salamanders, and fish.

We toured the AREC aquarium, participated in an aquatic-themed story and sing-along, and an aquatic animal crafts lesson. The hands-on activities introduced students to the local freshwater ecosystems and habitats, plus we got an up-close look at the local wildlife. Our eyes were glued to the tank as an educator fed one of the gars with worms. We couldn't believe how fast the long-mouthed fish jolted from its motionless suspension in the water to catch the worms with its many sharp, pointed teeth. Now that’s what I call biology in action!

Many thanks to the AREC staff and the Department of Energy & Environment for leading the various activities. In addition, a huge shout-out to Robert Trone and the Trone family for their sponsorship of Harmony Hills in the Buddy Bison School Program this academic year. We look forward to planning their next park adventure this spring.
Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Sarah at Washington Crossing Historic Park, PA. Photo courtesy of Cheryl Hullihen.

Ambassador Sarah: Bringing History to Life

In addition to preserving treasured natural areas, national parks also celebrate the rich history and influential historical figures that have helped to shape our country. Our Buddy Bison Student Ambassador, Sarah Hullihen, knows a thing or two about historical parks! She recently explored a few with me:

"Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk in the footsteps of Alexander Hamilton, Marquis de Lafayette, or even George Washington? One of the reasons I really enjoy visiting historical parks is that they can help bring history to life. I recently visited Washington Crossing Historic Park, Valley Forge National Historical Park, and Brandywine Battlefield Historic Site. These parks help tell the story of the Revolutionary War.

At Washington Crossing Historic Park, I saw a reenactment of Washington and his troops' historical river crossing back in December 25, 1776. When I visited Brandywine Battlefield Park, I saw a house used for General Washington’s headquarters and the fields where the soldiers fought on September 11, 1777. In the winter of 1777,General Washington and the Continental Army stayed at Valley Forge, where I explored huts built to look like the ones soldiers would have stayed in during the Revolutionary War. Visiting historical parks is awesome because you can learn a lot and have fun too!"

Follow Sarah’s adventures on social media (@jrrangersarah) and make sure to check out her blog.

Clockwise from upper left, Buddy Bison kids with: First Lady Michelle Obama at the Centennial Cherry Blossom Tree Planting; DOI Secretary Sally Jewell rock climbing at Carderock; WH CEQ Managing Director Christy Goldfuss at Rock Creek Park distributing Every Kid in a Park passes; and DOI Secretary Ken Salazar and NPS Director Jon Jarvis at celebration on the National Mall.

Building on the Obama Legacy

From Grace Lee, National Park Trust's executive director:

"Over the past eight years, we have been honored and privileged to work with the Obama Administration, Department of the Interior (DOI), National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, White House Council on Environmental Quality (WH CEQ), U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and many others to engage and connect tens of thousands of our Buddy Bison students with our parks and public lands. In 2015, President Barack Obama launched the Every Kid in a Park movement. Little did we at NPT know how much that movement, along with the NPS Centennial, would help us to expand our reach and the number of under-served students we would be able to impact.

Thanks to generous support from NPS Director Jon Jarvis and NPS Centennial Challenge Funds, the National Park Foundation, REI, The North Face, the Outdoor Foundation, U.S. Forest Service, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and many, many others, we have been able to provide life-changing park experiences through our Buddy Bison School Program for 20,000 under-served students across the country in just the past two years and more than 50,000 students over the past 8 years!

In addition, looking back to 2011, First Lady Michelle Obama began her important work to encourage kids and their families to develop a more healthy and active lifestyle with
Let's Move!. In fact, Let's Move! inspired us to create our national Kids to Parks Day (KTP) that same year working with the Let's Move Cities and Towns. Since 2011, KTP Day has grown tremendously with more than 730,000 participants in 2016. We are looking forward to celebrating the 7th annual KTP Day on May 20, 2017.

Finally, we are very grateful to both DOI Secretary Sally Jewell's Play, Learn, Work, and Serve and former DOI Secretary Ken Salazar's Youth in the Great Outdoors initiatives which encourage kids across the country to not only get out and enjoy the outdoors, but also to take care of our precious parks and public lands for future generations – the cornerstone of NPT's mission of preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow.

As we kick off the new year, the NPT board and staff thank all of these leaders and their dedicated staff for their extraordinary efforts that have resulted in a legacy that we will continue to build upon with the new Trump Administration. We look forward to working together to preserve our parks and cultivate the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts and stewards of our public lands and waters. As Buddy Bison says, 'Explore outdoors, the parks are yours!' "

Copyright © 2017 National Park Trust. All rights reserved.

Our new mailing address, as of January 23, 2017:
401 E. Jefferson Street, Suite 207, Rockville, MD, 20850

Email: - Phone: 301.279.7275

Copyright © 2017 National Park Trust, All rights reserved.

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