• Our mission is to preserve parks today and create park stewards for tomorrow. Since 1983, we have completed more than 100 park projects in 33 states. Furthermore, to foster future park enthusiasts and stewards, we created our Buddy Bison School Program and Kids to Parks Day, our nationwide day of play. This video summarizes our work and celebrates the 2015 Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award recipient, Senator Rob Portman (OH).

    Mapping our progress


  • Since 1983, NPT has supported and assisted in acquiring inholdings and in developing public and private partnerships to promote the acquisition and preservation of parks, wildlife refuges, historic landmarks, public lands, and water ways. We have completed more than 100 park projects benefiting 49 national park units and other public lands in 33 states. To learn more about about our work and how you can get involved, contact Dick Ring, NPT Park Projects Director.

  • Buddy Bison School Program: Because Kids Need Parks and Parks Need Kids

    The Buddy Bison school program was created in 2009 to engage diverse children from Title I schools with their local, state and national parks to teach environmental education and the numerous benefits of outdoor recreation. If parks are to survive, the face of those parks must change and under-served communities must have access to these local cultural and environmental resources. More than 80% of the students in the Buddy Bison school program qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch, predominantly in inner city communities. This program has been used in 60 schools across the country in grades pre-K through 8th in public, public charter and private schools across the country (20 states and Washington D.C.).

    This experiential learning program enhances existing school curricula throughout the year with emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) as well as history, language arts, reading, geography, the arts, and outdoor recreation. Students also learn about the careers of professionals who support our parks-- and the importance of stewarding our public lands. And in addition to bringing kids to parks, we bring parks to kids by arranging schools visits from our many conservation partners.

    To learn more about how you can get involved, contact Billy Schrack, NPT Education Director.

JUNE 2013

National Fishing and Boating Week

Fishing-6744"I caught one. Thanks Secretary Sally!"

150 Buddy Bison Students from D.C.’s Brent Elementary School, Washington Latin Public Charter School and Washington Middle School for Girls went fishing June 3rdon the Anacostia River in Washington D.C. with Secretary Sally Jewell to kick off National Great Outdoors Month by celebrating National Fishing and Boating Week. They hooked up with many D.C. “natives”: catfish, sunfish, and perch. What a great way to celebrate the summer! 


Paddling Down the Anacostia River with Buddy Bison

Buddy Bison students from Washington Latin took a field trip to canoe the Anacostia River which runs through our nation’s capital. The students quickly learned how to safely paddle down the river, and along their journey saw all kinds of wildlife – great blue heron, hawks, cormorants, egrets, turtles, and beavers. The students also helped to keep the river clean by picking up litter that was floating by. Click here to see more pictures, and also, you can check out photos featured in The Washington Post!

Two of my friends, Bernard and Jose wrote about their amazing experience:

“Thank you National Park Trust for giving us the chance to go canoeing. Although we were doing a fun activity we were also learning. I had a really great time and I think that canoeing is an activity that more city kids should experience.” - Bernard

“This field trip will help my classmates and me change our way of life by showing us the example of what happens when you throw trash any place other than where it is supposed to go. We also need to recycle and hold on to these lessons through high school.” - Jose


Fun on Fossil Day 

On October 12th, Students from Washington D.C. area schools Washington Jesuit Academy, Beauvoir School, Elsie Whitlow Stokes PCS, Phoebe Hearst Elementary, and Washington Latin PCS joined Buddy Bison on the National Mall for the 2nd Annual Fossil Day as part of Earth Science Week. In the shadow of the Washington Monument , these students rummaged through rocks looking for all kinds of fossils, from shells to shark teeth!

Park rangers and volunteers taught the students how to identify their findings and helped them analyze the skeletons of alligators and birds. They even had the chance to create their own miniature bird feeders by covering pinecones with nuts and honey. When it started to rain, the students escaped into the Museum of Natural History where they studied more skeletons and other ancient artifacts.

Click here to see more photos from the 2nd Annual National Fossil Day.


Washington Latin Student Serenade the Secretary of the Interior

Last week, students from Buddy Bison schools were the special guests at an event to honor Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar with NPT’s American Park Experience Award.  Sixth grade students from  Washington Latin Public Charter  School made formal presentations about their outdoor adventures to environmentalists, Department of the Interior and National Park Service officials.

When Secretary Salazar was honored with his Award for all his work to conserve land and get kids involved with nature, these students gave him his real tribute—a song! Together students from these Buddy Bison schools formed a choir, and under the direction of Stokes School ’s Music teacher Ms. Cheryl Jones, they performed “Get Out to the Great Outdoors” for the first time anywhere! Check out this video to hear some of the song—the feature number in the new Buddy Bison musical, written by Rob Cohen!


Anacostia River is Launching Point for a Week of Outdoor Fun

Buddy Bison’s friends from Wilderness Inquiry in Minnesota traveled with their canoes to provide an urban wilderness canoe adventure to kids who live near and along the Anacostia River in Washington, DC.    Washington Latin Public Charter School took their woolly friend out on the river as they learned more about the Anacostia in five hand-made Voyageur canoes.

Anesia a Buddy Bison student wrote, "On Saturday we went canoeing. We learned what pollution is and how to stop it. When we went I noticed a lot of trash (a.k.a. pollution) in the river. Me and the people on my canoe tried to help by picking it up. When we went we saw Buddy Bison. He is brown and looks like a bull. He is nice and respectful. I had a great time with my friends, and they were respectful and nice."

Crystina, also a Buddy Bison student, wrote, "On Saturday, I went canoeing in the Anacostia River . I learned about pollution. I learned all about different types of animals. I saw other people paddle boating. I saw a lot of trash in the water. I also saw a lot of birds around. The Buddy Bison I saw was brown and black. He was very friendly. He also liked Duke [Blue Devils}! Thank you, Buddy Bison, for taking me canoeing on the Anacostia River ." 

The week of canoe trips was designated as a Let’s Move Outside event by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let's Move initiative! Learn how you can move outside!


Students Celebrate National Fossil Day

Buddy Bison welcomed students to the National Mall to celebrate the FIRST Annual Fossil Day on October 13th! Sixth graders from Washington Latin Public Charter School joined other Buddy Bison schools on the grounds of the Washington Monument.

Kids were able to sift through mounds of dirt to find shark teeth and other fossil treasures, created their own plaster casts of shells and stones, and talked to real-life National Park Service and Smithsonian archaeologists and paleontologists. Throughout the day, they went on a scavenger hunt in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and learned about Washington, D.C. archaeology. All students were sworn in as Jr. Paleontologists at the end of the day by National Park Service Park Rangers.

Washington Latin Public Charter School Hit the Trails

The North Face’s Planet Explore invited kids and families out to hike Maryland and Virginia Trails last month—and the hike taken by many of our Buddy Bison students was featured on First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move blog!

All told, about 90 Washington Latin Public Charter School, KIPP D.C. WILL Academy (photo right), and E.W. Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School students and their families hiked a beautiful trail at Seneca Creek State Park. As one E.W. Stokes parent said, “the weekend was awesome! Beautiful location, beautiful lake, beautiful Stokes scholars, parents, siblings, extended family, staff, and board members. This is what it should all be about.”

JULY 2010

Buddy Bison Haikus… Do you?

Buddy Bison has taken to writing haiku poetry. Can you write a Buddy Bison haiku, too?

Buddy Bison quakes
A mighty roar he does make
Support our parks NOW

Sixth grader Matthew W. from Washington Latin PCS did a great job:

A Buddy Bison 
Symbolizes something so
Absolutely neat.

Like Matthew, can you give us your creative best? Please send in your Buddy Bison haiku poetry to sarah@parktrust.org. (Remember, haiku poetry is written with five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and five syllables in the third line. They don’t need to rhyme!) 
Finalists will be featured on www.buddybison.org!

MARCH 2010

6th Grade Journalists at Washington Latin PCS Students Find Out About Buffalo Soldiers

By: Diamond and Sara

The Buffalo Soldiers fought in all kinds of wars dating back to the Civil War. Did you know that they were actually African-Americans who fought under this title because all of the other American soldier organizations wouldn't accept them because of the color of their skin? They received the name Buffalo Soldier because their hair reminded Native Americans of the coat of a buffalo - a great honor. 

We were able to meet with and interview a former Buffalo Soldier and it was fascinating. His name is Mr. Joe Hairston. He told us about the ups and downs of being a Buffalo Soldier. A few ups were that you could make new friends and held a job that you were paid for. Some downs were that you had to go to war and be away from your family during the holidays. You might even lose some friends during the war that you have come to know. 

On that same day, we also interviewed Ranger Shelton Johnson. If you've seen the new film, The National Parks: America's Best Idea, you've seen Ranger Johnson. He appeared a lot of times. He works at Yosemite right now, but has worked at many National Parks. He sometimes re-enacts the story of the Buffalo Soldiers to National Park visitors. These men were both very interesting men to interview and we learned a lot about the history of the Buffalo Soldiers.


Washington Latin Public Charter School Loves National Parks

Washington Latin 6th graders were inspired to write about the beauty of national parks after watching Ken Burns' new film, The National Parks: America's Best Idea. Read their work below:

By Colin: I think national parks are a great idea. Now we have land to admire, not to destroy and make cities.

By Sarah: I have learned that National Parks are not only all different, but hard to establish. At the same time though, they are one of the greatest beauties America has, they represent who we are, our past, and even our personalities. 

By Valentine: I think National Parks are definitely America's best idea. Not many people realize how important they are.

By Jordan: National parks are amazing, important and special gifts to us. I call them gifts because they are more of responsibilities than rights.

By Nicholaus: I think National parks are very important because it keeps the animals and vegetation protected.