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Can you guess this park? It has carvings from early humans in its stone dating back 10,000 years. Answer for October:  Grand Teton National Park.
Our Buddy Bison Schools are getting out to parks this fall all across the country: from California to Texas to Washington, D.C. Do you want to get outside too? You’re in luck! This year we are launching the Kids to Parks Day National School Contest one month earlier to give everyone more time to plan and submit their proposals by February 14, 2017. Any school can enter and win funding for their trip. See the stories below for inspiration and more details about the contest!

In addition, November 11 is Veteran's Day as well as a Fee Free Day for all National Parks!

Explore outdoors, the parks are yours!

Buddy Bison
3rd graders from Neval Thomas Elementary in D.C. at the Lincoln Memorial.

A Walk Down Monument Lane

Have you ever been to the National Mall in Washington, D.C.? There are so many historical monuments there, and I got to visit 4 of them with Neval Thomas Elementary in Washington, D.C. and their school's sponsor, Pepco!

Pepco volunteers hiked with us to each of the monuments, helping to answer all of our questions. We started off at the Jefferson Memorial, then explored the Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, Jr. monuments. We finished our day at the Lincoln Memorial, which many of the kids said is their favorite. They took this information back to the classroom to help them write a report on which monument they liked the best.

It’s amazing that historical monuments like these are part of the National Park System! Go to to find more national parks to visit and make them your own. Thanks so much to Pepco for helping Neval Thomas find theirs!
4th grade students from Rio Rosales Elementary in Ventura County, CA celebrate receiving their Every Kid in a Park passes at the Channel Islands Visitor Center.

National Park Trust board member Elizabeth Ulmer, Junior Ranger Tigran Nahabedian, Ranger Lauren Boross, and Buddy Bison hand out Every Kid in a Park passes.

Buddy's Island Escapade

I am sure you have heard of the President's Every Kid in a Park initiative to get every 4th grader a free annual public lands pass, but did you know that I have been working with Channel Islands National Park to bring every 4th grader in Ventura County, CA (all 10,000 of them) to the Visitor Center? With a grant from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation matched by the National Park Service Centennial funds, we are showing every 4th grader the importance of Channel Islands and why this special place is protected.
Watching a live dive with Ranger Kelly Moore while actually talking to her was so exciting! If that’s not enough, I also met our Buddy Bison Student Ambassador, Tigran Nahabedian, who helped the students during their visit. His 201.6+ hours of volunteeringin our parks in honor of the 2016 Centennial really showed when talking with students about the sea creatures of Channel Islands.

Faye Vea, a 4th grade teacher from Rio Rosales Elementary, said, “Thank you for making this trip possible for our fourth grade students and for encouraging them to take [Buddy Bison] to different parks, forests, lakes, rivers, mountains, and canyons! The students are able to do this because they were given an Every Kid in a Park pass!"

Get your own free 4th grade voucher at
Ranger Max Harper leading a hike with Hartsfield Elementary from Houston, TX.

Going BIG at Big Thicket National Preserve

Mid-October was all about Texas! I recently headed to southeast Texas to explore Big Thicket National Preserve with my 4th-grade friends from Hartsfield Elementary in Houston and Ehrhart School in Beaumont. Their trips were made possible thanks to National Park Service (NPS) Centennial Challenge funds. Thank you NPS!

The students went on NPS ranger-led hikes along the Sundew Trail, where they learned about the vast and diverse habitats that make up Big Thicket, including the threatened longleaf pine forests. They also learned about food webs and the different roles that animals and plants play in ecosystems. The students had such a good time that many were asking the rangers about visiting the park again with their families. Now that’s what Buddy Bison likes to hear!
Ambassador Sarah with Buddy Bison at Fort Christina at First State National Historical Park in Delaware.

That's a First: Ambassador Sarah's Adventures

What an exciting fall for our newest Buddy Bison Student Ambassador, Sarah Hullihen! Remember when Sarah participated in the National Park Service Centennial celebration at Independence National Historical Park? Well, Sarah has kept the adventures going and recently stopped by the First State National Historical Park in New Castle, DE. She shared about her experience ;in her letter:

"Did you know that the “First State” was actually the last state to get a National Park Service unit? First State National Historical Park is made up of sites all the way from the northern to the southern parts of the state of Delaware. This park was created in 2013 as the First State National Monument. Since I love visiting historical sites, this was the perfect park for me to visit. And, this year happens to be the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act. I was even able to get a special wooden Junior Ranger badge during my visit!

I learned that the sites that make up First State National Historical Park tell the story of the many different groups of people who have settled and lived in Delaware. At Fort Christina in Wilmington, a monument marks where Swedish settlers landed in 1638. Holy Trinity Church, also called Old Swedes Church, is also in Wilmington, and both of these places are National Historic Landmarks. Some of these buildings are as old as the seventeenth century. So, next time you are passing by Delaware, make sure to check out the National Park unit sites there."

Follow Sarah’s adventures on social media (@jrrangersarah) and make sure to check out her blog. You can read her full letter here.

Buddy wants YOU to enter for a chance to win!

Fund Your School's Kids to Parks Day Trip

I am inviting students across the country to participate in the 7th annual Kids to Parks Day, a nationwide grassroots movement to celebrate America’s parks and public lands, a "day of play!"

In honor of this day, we are once again hosting the Kids to Parks Day (KTP) National School Contest to help educators engage their students with their local parks. This national contest is open to all Title I schools and school groups in the United States (grades preK through 12). Students can submit proposals to fund a KTP event at a park or public lands/waterways in their community. I will award park scholarships up to $1,000 to winning entries. Scholarships can be used by the winners to implement their KTP event this spring. Deadline for entries is Tuesday, February 14th. Winners will be announced Wednesday, March 1st, 2017.

Click here to go to our brand new website! You can learn more about the contest, download the entry form, and watch our school video from last year!

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.

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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