November 2016 News
Support our Parks
Thank You For Your Outstanding Support!
Wow! The historic Centennial of the National Park Service was an incredible year of accomplishments for NPT thanks to YOUR support. From acquiring lands to benefit Yosemite National Park, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Rocky Mountain National Park, to providing 20,000 students with park experiences – it's been an enormously successful year. We hope you consider National Park Trust on #GivingTuesday​ to help us keep the momentum going through 2017. And be sure to check out our new website!

Watch this story by correspondent Kavitha Cardoza which aired on PBS NewsHour and features one of our newest Buddy Bison schools, Pennycook Elementary (CA). Their 4th graders visited Muir Woods and took advantage of the wonderful education programs provided by this magnificent national park.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! And Remember, #GivingTuesday is November 29th. 
Protecting Rocky Mountain National Park 
Rocky Mountain National Park. (Photo courtesy of National Park Service.)

Some great news to end the Centennial year! Thanks to our partnership with the Rocky Mountain Conservancy and The Wilderness Land Trust, 12.5 acres located inside the boundaries of Rocky Mountain National Park will be acquired and donated to the park. The last critical piece of funding needed to complete this project has been provided by The Barrett Family Foundation.

The parcel is located in the Wild Basin Area, a popular hiking destination for park visitors with breathtaking views of wilderness, rushing mountain streams, numerous cascades, and waterfalls. To learn more about this project or to get involved with our park preservation efforts, contact our Park Project Director Phil Selleck
White House Convening on Outdoor Youth Initiatives
Buddy Bison student, Cheyenne Roundtree speaking at the White House convening on Opportunities for Youth to Experience the Outdoors. (Photo courtesy of Susan Yoder.)

Last week, members of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) came to Washington, D.C. for their annual meetings. The highlight of the week was a White House convening on Opportunities for Youth to Experience the Outdoors, co-hosted by OAK and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. The convening brought together nearly 100 leaders across the NGO, business, and government sectors to celebrate our collective success to get kids outdoors over the last several years, and to discuss plans for moving forward in the next administration. The White House convening started with inspirational words from Christy Goldfuss, Managing Director, White House Council on Environmental Quality followed by Buddy Bison student, Cheyenne Roundtree and teacher Stephen Biller, a past recipient of NPT's national teacher award.
Grace Lee, NPT's executive director, also participated in a panel discussion on Youth Outdoors Programs During the Obama Administration with Meryl Harrell, Senior Advisor for the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, USDA; George McDonald, Youth Programs Manager, National Park Service and Eric Somerville, Executive Director of Volunteerism and Community Engagement, YMCA of Central Maryland. Moderating the panel was Michael Degnan, Associate Director for Land and Water, White House Council on Environmental Quality.
NPT Honored by the Outdoors Alliance for Kids
Representatives (left to right) from REI, Children & Nature Network, National League of Cities, National Park Trust, and The North Face at the inaugural OAK Leaf Awards.

As part of last week's gathering of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK), NPT was awarded an inaugural OAK Leaf Award "in appreciation of leadership and collaboration in connecting kids with nature." The awards ceremony was held at The Wilderness Society’s Ansel Adams Gallery on November 15th. Others recognized included our friends and partners at REI, The North Face, Children & Nature Network and the National League of Cities.

"When President Obama issued his Every Kid in a Park call to action, National Park Trust stepped up, expanded its programming in cities across America and worked collaboratively to grow opportunities to get kids outdoors," says OAK Co-founder and Chair Jackie Ostfeld. "OAK wouldn't be what it is today without the dedication of our members to getting kids outdoors through collaboration. We are honored to work with NPT and pleased to present the Buddy Bison team with an inaugural OAK Leaf Award."

“Working together with the members of this alliance, we are able, each year, to engage tens of thousands of students from Title 1 schools across the country with our iconic parks and public lands, providing transformational park experiences. OAK is an excellent example of the power of partnerships, and we are honored to accept this award,” stated executive director of the National Park Trust, Grace Lee.
NPT Welcomes New Board Members
The NPT board recently elected two new board members: Chad Dayton from St. Paul, MN and Elizabeth ​(Liz) ​Ulmer from Malibu, CA. 

​NPT's Board Chair Bill Brownell stated, "We are delighted to welcome ​Chad and Liz to the NPT family. With their strong passion for protecting our parks combined with their expertise in engaging youth, they will be wonderful additions to our board's youth programs committee."
Chad Dayton is a seasoned outdoor educator, a strong advocate for public lands and waters, and a dedicated campaigner for impactful connections between communities and nature. After teaching college for nearly a decade, Chad fully transitioned to outdoor education in 2009. Since then Chad has worked as an instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School and Wilderness Medicine Institute and as associate director for Wilderness InquiryChad is now owner/principal of Outdoor Solutions, LLC.
Chad stated, ​"I am thrilled by the opportunity to join the NPT board not only because NPT’s mission is aligned with my personal and professional values, but also because I am extremely passionate about the opportunity to positively impact the lives of children all across the country — facilitating meaningful connections to public lands and waters while addressing the disparities of academic achievement and opportunity gaps — and to work with NPT’s board, staff, and partners to ensure the sustainable future of our public lands and equitable access opportunities for all.”
Liz Ulmer’s career path includes work as a lawyer, lobbyist, and fundraiser for Earth Justice (then Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund) and ultimately as director of planned giving prior to starting her own business. She then transitioned to Island Press where she was co-director for program advancement. Her board experience includes chairing the Coral Reef Alliance​ and​ vice president of the National Child Research Center.
“I’m very excited about working with NPT, a group that truly understands the importance of growing the next generation of park stewards through education and outdoor experiences. Their student outreach combined with the land acquisition program is a brilliant way to tackle park stewardship,” stated Liz.
Our School Contest is Open!
Fund Your Students Kids to Parks Day Trip
Does your grade or class need funding to get to a park? NPT invites students across the country to participate in the annual Kids to Parks (KTP) Day National School Contest. Kids to Parks Day is a nationwide day of outdoor play celebrated on Saturday, May 20th. We want to get kids across the country to discover their local, state, and national parks and other public lands! Visit

If you are a Title I school (grades pre-K through 12), our school contest can provide up to $1,000 for your park trip. Click here to learn more. The contest closes on February 14th.

Questions? Contact Billy Schrack ( or Katie Zimmerman ( or call 301-279-7275.
Buddy Bison Students Sail Through Fall in D.C.
Washington School for Girls ​(D.C.) ​students at Bladensburg Waterfront Park (MD).​ Their smiles say it all!​

It's been a busy month in the D.C. metro area as NPT worked with more than 1,300 students at their local parks:

Thirty Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia schools, totaling approximately 1,000 students, explored the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers with our partners Wilderness Inquiry and their Canoemobile program. Students learned to paddle their 24-foot Voyageur canoes and saw the river from the perspective of the living things that call it home. 

We thank our partners, the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, the Environmental Protection Agency, National Park Service and the Anacostia Watershed Society, who took the students through several hands-on activities where they learned about the watershed and how their activities impact it. Thanks to REI, the Outdoor Foundation, Wells Fargo, and Pepco who provided school bus funding for many of these schools.

​But that's not all, NPT also worked with the entire student body from E.W. Stokes Public Charter School (D.C.) – more than 300 students! NPT planned and organized this all-school fall outing which takes place each year at Watkins Regional Park (MD). From hikes to hayrides to getting up close to wildlife, it was a day the students will always remember.
We're In! The New Catalogue for Philanthropy

We are very honored once again to be selected for inclusion in ​the Catalogue for Philanthropy​ ​​as "one of the best" charities that supports Washington D.C. communities.  ​Read our ​write up ​here, and be sure to check out our #GivingTuesday video.

(Photo courtesy of Julia Schweitzer, Wilderness Inquiry.)
Many State Parks Have Also Joined #OptOutside with Free Admission
Last year our friends at REI did something different on Black Friday – they shut the co-op’s doors and spent the day outside. This year they’re closing again and we’ve decided to #OptOutside with them along with 1.8 million others. Many state parks have also joined the cause by waiving their fees on November 25th to help even more people #OptOutside. Learn more here. 

​After your hearty Thanksgiving meal, get outdoors ​on Friday ​and share your photos with us on Twitter @NatParkTrust, or on Facebook and Instagram @NationalParkTrust.​ And don't forget to take Buddy Bison along with you and use #BuddyBison! 

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