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Happy Birthday National Park Service! 
It’s finally here – the National Park Service Centennial! On August 25, 1916 President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Park Service Organic Act into law, creating the National Park Service. Since then 412 parks, national monuments, wildlife preserves, and historic and cultural landmarks have become a part of our national park system. Our parks not only protect important lands, waters, and wildlife areas, but they also tell and preserve the stories of our great country!

There are so many ways to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. Here are a few ideas:

🎂 NPS has challenged its volunteers to reach 201.6 hours of service; will you accept this challenge? Our Buddy Bison Student Ambassador, Tigran Nahabedian has! Read more below.

🎂 Explore a national park that you’ve never visited before; read below about what students from Jefferson Elementary (Rigby, ID) discovered.

🎂 Share our national parks with others, through stories and photos with me, Buddy Bison! Did you know that purchasing a Buddy Bison gives the gift of national parks to one under-served child?

Best of all, August 25th - 28th are fee-free days. So grab your friends, family, me, and a camera and get out and go! Share your pictures that week with us on Twitter @NatParkTrust, Facebook @NationalParkTrust, and Instagram @NationalParkTrust and be sure to #BuddyBison.

Buddy Bison
Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford from the Today Show's Kathie Lee and Hoda.

Buddy Bison's Today Show Debut

To help us get things rolling for the birthday celebration, I was a special guest on the Today Show. Hoda Kotb from Kathie Lee and Hoda featured me and my book, Buddy Bison's Yellowstone Adventure, as two of her favorite things! Woohoo! Didn't see it? Check it out here!
Students participate in a “Flag Talk” with Buddy Bison and park rangers at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine (Baltimore, MD). Photo courtesy of Wayne Hill.

O Say, Can You See... Buddy Bison at a Centennial Ceremony?

Parks across the nation will be celebrating the National Park Service's 100th birthday on August 25th. Students from the Y in Central Maryland will have an opportunity to celebrate, too with me and NPT! 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders will experience what life was like at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine (Baltimore, MD) during the War of 1812.

Did you know that the Star Spangled Banner, our national anthem, was written about the flag that flew above Fort McHenry during a battle in the War of 1812? Students will unfurl a full-size, 30 x 42 foot replica of the flag, and learn the symbolism behind Francis Scott Key’s words. Many of our nation’s stories are immortalized through our national parks, and we will continue to share these stories and more in the next 100 years!

Thank you @Caesars for your continued support of our youth programs, including this special Centennial event. Help give the gift of national parks to an under-served child or school group, and keep the promise of America’s Best Idea alive for another 100 years. Contact Rebecca Hansell ( or call 301-279-7275 to get involved today!

Where else will Buddy Bison celebrate the National Park Service's Centennial? Check out events in these national parks:
🎂 Richmond National Battlefield Park (VA)
🎂 Petroglyph National Monument (NM)
🎂 Valley Forge National Historical Park (PA)
Fifth-grade students from Jefferson Elementary School explore Craters of the Moon National Monument (ID).

Volcanoes, Lichens, and Buddy Bison!

Fifth-grade students from Jefferson Elementary School (Rigby, ID) visited the unique and beautiful Craters of the Moon National Monument (Arco, ID) to celebrate Kids to Parks Day this year! Craters of the Moon is the perfect place to study geology, as the park is made up of 25 cinder cones, a type of volcano. Students explored Indian Tunnel and Beauty Cave and learned about lichens from a park ranger.

According to their teacher, Christopher Richardson, this annual trip to their national park is the perfect opportunity for students who typically have trouble concentrating. With help from the Kids to Parks Day National School Contest, students were also exposed to careers in science and new opportunities for learning. Plus @Camelbak provided water bottles for 2,000 contest winners including these students. Yay!

“Thank you National Park Trust and Camelbak for everything you did for us kids,” wrote 5th grader Jasmine B. “We all had a great time and the water bottles were very helpful.”
Watch this video to see where our other school contest winners went to celebrate Kids to Parks Day. A huge Buddy Bison thanks to the National Park Service Centennial Challenge Fund and @FirstSolar for providing our contest winners with park grants. Can you spot the Jefferson Elementary Students?
Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Tigran Nahabedian gives back to our national parks. Photo courtesy of Vahagn Nahabedian.

Give Parks a Helping Hand: Tigran Shows Us How

Tigran Nahabedian, our first Buddy Bison Student Ambassador, wants you to “give parks a helping hand!" Tigran has always been a dependable volunteer at his local park, Channel Islands National Park, but this year has been a special year for all National Park Service volunteers. NPS has challenged volunteers to work 201.6 hours during the Centennial year! Tigran has already gifted 100 hours of his time for this special cause:

“I love our national parks and the challenge is very important to me because I’m trying to get more kids to the parks.

Recently, I started working in the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center. I get to hand out Junior Ranger booklets (nothing makes me as happy as seeing smiling kids when I award them their Junior Ranger badges). I work at a touch table and let visitors handle whale baleen, kelp holdfasts, shark eggs and a really cool Chumash clapping stick. At the tide pool tank, I get to help teach people about the sea creatures and pass out squid to visitors so they can feed the fish.

You can volunteer at your national parks too. You can lend a helping hand in beach cleanups, or help maintain trails and take people on hikes, or maybe even scuba dive for a park like my dad.”

Want to know more about his park experiences? You can follow Tigran: @JrRangerTigran. Thank you Tigran for being a terrific park steward!
Get that perfect shot on the Centennial, like this one at the Washington Monument (Washington, D.C.). Photo courtesy of Frank Lee Ruggles.

Buddy Bison's Photography Corner: Turn That Camera!

As we all know, one of the best ways to capture our park memories 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. During this momentous occasion in NPS history, Frank has this tip for you to try.

“You’ve just hiked all morning to get to the top of the ridge in anticipation for the perfect shot. When that moment comes and you finally snap that photo, it’s great but not what you had envisioned. You must be thinking, ‘Oh I needed a better lens or filter to make the scene that much better.’ New equipment can certainly help, but it’s costly and adds bulk to the bag and is not always necessary. How about turning the camera? When I do find a shot, I'll take the image both in a horizontal and vertical camera orientation. When I’m sorting through my photos at home, I often realize that my second choice was actually the better shot. Next time you are photographing try this tip, and notice how something as simple as a camera turn can enliven your photo.”

For the National Park Service’s Centennial, get outside with your camera and capture all the fun! Share how you celebrate the Centennial with us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. And be sure to take me along. I can’t wait to see your photos!

Copyright © 2016 National Park Trust. All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
401 E. Jefferson Street, Suite 203, Rockville, MD, 20850

Email: - Phone: 301.279.7275

Copyright © 2016 National Park Trust, All rights reserved.

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