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Can you guess this park? It is best known for a 40-mile-long mountain range, which is also the youngest range in the Rocky Mountains. Answer for September: Death ValleyPhoto courtesy of Frank Lee Ruggles
Summer is out, fall is in! The leaves are starting to change color and Buddy Bison Schools are back on the bus to go to their favorite parks!

Thanks to President Obama’s Every Kid in a Park initiative, the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Georgia-Pacific Foundation, Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK), and The North Face (TNF), I went on adventures all over the east coast with kids just like you. Read all about them below.

How will YOU enjoy the outdoors this fall? How about checking out some of the spooooky fall festivals happening in national parks for Halloween!

Now get out and go!

Buddy Bison
Buffalo Soldier re-enactors showed D.C. students what it was like to be a soldier in the all African-American army units of the 1860s.

Home, Home in the Woods

September 24 was National Environmental Education Foundation’s (NEEF) National Public Lands Day. One of my favorite things to do on public lands is to go camping! So I joined kids from Creative Minds and Inspired Teaching schools in Washington, D.C. for a camping trip at the nearby Armed Forces Retirement Home.

First, we got to meet some Buffalo Soldiers – re-enactors of the first all African-American units in the United States Army. Then, in celebration of the second year of Every Kid in a Park, we got our passes to explore public lands for free (if you're in 4th grade, click on the link to get your own free voucher).

Next, we set up tents, made a campfire, and even had some yummy s’mores. Afterwards, we went on a night hike, where we learned about our own night-time senses and how animals like owls hunt in the dark.

A huge shout-out to NEEF and the U.S. Forest Service for all of their support! If you love public lands too, why not plan your own camping adventure?
P.S. 119 Amersfort from Brooklyn, NY had an awesome adventure spending the day out of the classroom in a park!

Escaping the Big City to a Local National Park

What a way to kick off the second year of President Obama’s Every Kid in a Park initiative! National Park Trust, The North Face (TNF) and the Outdoors Alliance for Kids joined forces to bring 90 fourth graders from P.S. 119 Amersfort in Brooklyn, NY, to the Ecology Village at Gateway National Recreation Area for a day of fun and educational outdoor activities. This was the first of five events in different cities (NYC, DC, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco) funded by TNF’s Explore Fund. The second was at Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C.

The students were first welcomed by Jennifer Nercesian, the superintendent of Gateway National Recreation Area, and received their Every Kid in a Park passes. They participated in 5 rotations of activities led by the National Park Service (NPS), TNF, and Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy

At our next event in Rock Creek, Deputy Superintendent Frank Young helped kick off the celebration by distributing park passes before the students explored the park and the planetarium.

TNF helped kids at both parks learn about setting up tents and packing a backpack for overnight trips. These events were a huge success, and we couldn't have done it without the continued support of The North Face! You can follow them @thenorthface.
Students from M. Agnes Jones in Atlanta strike a pose in front of a replica of the old mill wheel.

Sweet Adventures at Sweetwater Creek

Can you believe that we've already been in school for almost two whole months? Me neither! September through June is my favorite time of the year because that means Buddy Bison School trips are in full swing! Just a few days ago, I went on my very first one of the season with M. Agnes Jones Elementary to Sweetwater Creek State Park in Georgia.

The rangers taught us all about how the Visitor Center is environmentally friendly, and about the animals in the park and their adaptations. We felt the pelts of some of them, and a few of us even touched one of the nature center’s snakes! They also took us on a hike to see the ruins of an old Civil War cotton mill and explore the amazing geology of the area. 

Thanks to the Georgia-Pacific Foundation for taking us on this amazing adventure! It always makes me sad when a trip is over...but that also means it’s almost time for the next one! See you then!
Ambassador Tigran takes a break at the Channel Islands Visitor Center. Photo courtesy of Vahagn Nahabedian.

Ambassador Tigran: Channel Islands’ Hero

Tigran Nahabedian, our first Buddy Bison Student Ambassador, does more than just go on adventures with me! Find out what he did below!

“The Channel Islands National Park (CHIS) and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary are important to me because they changed my life. I first visited and became a junior ranger when I was five years old. For the last two years, I have volunteered with the National Park Service and was honored to represent Let’s Move! Outside and Every Kid in a Park. Because of this, I met the National Park Trust (NPT) and became their first Buddy Bison Student Ambassador. As an ambassador I really wanted to help CHIS because it was where my journey began. I joined the Channel Islands Park Foundation and told NPT how I wanted to do something for “my” park. They said they could help but I never expected how much they would do!

Dr. Sylvia Earle takes Buddy Bison on his first live dive.Dr. Sylvia Earle takes Buddy Bison on his first live dive in Channel Islands.
First, CHIS and NPT joined to celebrate Kids to Parks Day 2016. Dr. Sylvia Earle, a world-renowned National Geographic explorer, came to the park for a live dive. She loves Buddy Bison and even took mine on the dive! She says, “My favorite animal is really you. You hold the future truly in your hands – everything that humans care about will be protected, that there will be a chance for great-great-great-grandchildren of today to look back and say thank you to kids of the Centennial of National Parks, that this may be a new century of caring.”
Second, NPT was awarded the Hollings Grant from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation to bring kids to Channel Islands. I was really proud because I was the reason they applied for this grant!

I am a scuba diver, I care about our oceans and I hope you will visit a National Marine Sanctuary. Learn more at and If you want to help bring under-served kids to parks, your donation will be matched by this grant at"

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