June 2018

I am so excited that Kids to Parks Day was such a success this year! Over 1 million of you joined me by getting outside to your local parks. Did you know that there were 1,200 events in all 50 states and Washington, DC?! The Kids to Parks Day National School Contest was also a big hit this year, more than 5,000 students were awarded park grants to celebrate the day! These students got outside with their schools to hike, learn and help clean up their local parks. Check out this video and see if you can spot me in some of the pictures.
St. Francis Xavier Academy 3rd graders on the Anacostia River (DC).
This year, Kids to Parks Day was kicked off at the Anacostia River. This river plays a huge role in day-to-day life in Washington, DC. That’s why it was pretty cool to host our kickoff event by exploring it! Check out my adventures with St. Francis Xavier Catholic Academy and Blue Star Families by clicking the link below. Your parents might enjoy the local news story about this fun event, too. Save the Date for next year's Kids to Parks Day, Saturday, May 18, 2019!
Photo courtesy of Tami Heilemann and the Department of Interior
After learning about the river, I went with some of our Blue Star Families to the Department of the Interior to meet Secretary Ryan Zinke! We thanked him for his support of military families and delivered 1,000 postcards that were written by 4th graders that shared why we all love our parks and the Every Kid in a Park pass. Did you know that this pass allows all 4th graders and their families to get into all National Park Service sites and other federal public lands for free? I was very happy to hear that just last week the Secretary and Department of the Interior announced that they plan to continue this program! If you know a 4th grader make sure they get their pass so their family can enjoy the parks this summer for free.
Buddy Bison Students Present Vento Award
West Education Campus students Xiara Brown-Pitts and Adrian Gonzalez present Sen. Martin Heinrich with Buddy Bison t-shirt.
I was so proud of West Education Campus Buddy Bison students, Campbell Tiller, Adrian Gonzalez and Xiara Brown-Pitts who worked with me to honor Senator Martin Heinrich (NM) this week with National Park Trust's annual Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award. The award recognizes Senator Heinrich's efforts supporting and protecting our national parks and public lands and waters. You can watch a video about the award on our site by clicking the button below.
Buddy Bison Kids "Take Flight"
P.S. 119 4th graders at Floyd Bennett Airfield in Gateway National Recreation Area (NY).
2018 is National Geographic’s Year of the Bird! I celebrated all my winged friends with 4th graders from P.S. 119 Elementary (NY) at Floyd Bennett Airfield, part of Gateway National Recreation Area. We made bird feeders with the help of park rangers. Park Rangers showed us how to be citizen scientists. The North Face also taught us how to build a tent and we ran in a really fun “Pack the Pack” relay race that taught us how to pack a backpack for a hiking adventure! Plus, all the 4th graders received their Every Kid in a Park pass from Superintendent Jennifer T. Nersesian. We’re so happy to thank The North Face and Outdoors Alliance for Kids for collaborating with us on this special event.
HEROs and Students Meet Amazing Animals
Metropolis Elementary at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area (KY).
I also enjoyed two great adventures with HERO volunteers from Caesars at the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area (Golden Pond, KY) with STEM club students from Metropolis Elementary. Then I visited Estell Manor Park (Mays Landing, NJ) with 3rd graders from the Pennsylvania Ave School. Check out what we did at each park here! Thank you for this important partnership Caesars Foundation!
All Things Green and Growing
Neval Thomas (DC) 3rd graders harvested radishes themselves at the Washington Youth Garden.
I spent a lot of time this spring at the Washington Youth Garden at the U.S. National Arboretum. I went there with 3 DC public elementary schools, Jefferson Houston, Seaton, and Neval Thomas as well as with Washington School for Girls. You can read about everything we harvested, tasted and touched on our website. These schools were sponsored this year by Wells Fargo, DecisionPoint, Pepco, and Mike and Carol Steed, respectively. We thank them for their generous multi-year support!
TREE-T Yourself
Wolfe Street Academy 4th graders ready to swing from the treetops at North Bay Adventure Camp (MD).
4th and 5th graders from Wolfe Street Academy (MD) really got into the “swing” of things when they went to NorthBay Adventure Camp with our friends from the USDA Forest Service. They discovered fascinating new ways to explore trees using technology. They also jumped into North Bay’s giant swing for a fun view of the Chesapeake Bay. Many thanks to the USDA Forest Service for making this amazing and fun trip possible!

Student Ambassador Adventures
Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Tigran participated in the Parks and Tech Challenge earlier this Spring, at Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Check out Tigran’s blog to see how he, along with tech specialists, designers, and park lovers all worked to improve our national parks! 

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