• 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 accomplishments thanks to your generous support!​

    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 Director of Youth Programs.

School Contest (7)

This year NPT is once again hosting the Kids to Parks Day National School Contest! The purpose of the contest is to empower students to create and plan their own park experience. This national contest is open to all under-served schools across the country and in the U.S. territories. Students can submit proposals for a KTP event at a park in their community. NPT will award grants up to $1,000 to winning entries. We encourage schools to implement their KTP event during the month of May, 2016 but exceptions can be made based on school schedules. Contest entries will be accepted beginning on Monday, January 4th. Deadline for entries is Friday, March 4nd. Winners will be announced Friday, March 25th, 2016 on our website. 

Last year we awarded 50 schools with park grants. In honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, our 2016 school contest has been selected by the National Park Service as a Centennial Match Project. With the matched funding from NPS, we will be able to award park grants to 100 schools this year -- 100 schools to celebrate 100 years! Are you a 4th-grade teacher? This contest also supports the President's Every Kid in a Park initiative to get every 4th grader to a park this school year!


How to enter:

  1. Download the entry form here WORD or PDF
  2. Students must complete the two-page entry form
  3. Email or mail the proposal to:

Billy Schrack - William@parktrust.org
National Park Trust
401 E. Jefferson Street
Suite 203
Rockville, MD 20850

If you have any questions please call 301-279-7275 x11

Please note: more then one class can apply per school. All proposals must be postmarked or emailed by March 4, 2016.

 Share the contest:






 Contest Details: 

  • Students must select a park near their school.
  • Students must research the park to find out what outdoor recreation activities, educational, and park stewardship opportunities.
  • Students must complete the two-page entry form.
  • One entry form can be submitted per class; more than one entry form can be submitted per school.
  • We want to hear from the students, so help them develop their ideas, but allow them to complete the proposal in their own words.
    • If the students are unable to complete the proposal for any reason, please contact William Schrack at NPT (301-279-7275 x11)
  • Be creative: video entries, artwork, and photos are encouraged as part of the entry!
  • Cover letters from teachers are also encouraged, but not required.

Contest winners will receive:

  • Funding for one park experience including school bus transportation, park-related fees, supplies for park stewardship project, or anything else students feel would enhance their educational parks experience.
  • Official award certificate and KTP stickers for students.
  • A classroom Buddy Bison, our pint-sized woolly mascot, to take on your park adventure.
  • A opportunity to have a student-written article about the experience featured on our website, in our e-newsletter, or in Buddy Bison's Buzz.

 Highlights from last year's contest:

  • 50 scholarships awarded, serving 3,277 students in grades prek-12.
  • KTP School Contest winning schools spanned coast-to-coast in 28 states.
Chuckey-Doak Middle School, TN - Grandfather Mountain

"There were a lot of firsts for my students because of this grant... I am so very thankful for the ability to share some of that with my class. The look of accomplishment and excitement on their faces when they crossed the bridge and were able to tell their parents about their experiences made the entire process worth every second."

Angela Watson, teacher

Broad View Elementary School, WA - Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve

"Our field trip to Ebey's National Reserve last week was possibly one of the most meaningful trips my students have ever taken. Having the experience of researching the trip in advance and putting together a proposal for funding from the National Park Trust was an important piece in creating the excitement. The process built context and ownership."

Joyce Arnold, teacher

Catonsville Educational Center, MD - Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center

"When children are denied access to play, they experience social, emotional, and cognitive delays. Fortunately, our program addresses students' needs for play through phsyical education and movement/behavioral thearpies; however winning this contest [helped] us afford the outdoor experience that children desperately need."

- Donna Wasserbach, Micah Bond, and Bennet Robley, teachers


There were a lot of firsts for my students because of this grant.  My boys and I love being outdoors and exploring nature. I am so very thankful for the ability to share some of that with my class. The look of accomplishment and excitement on their faces when they crossed the bridge and were able to tell their parents about their experiences made the entire process worth every second.”