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GET TO KNOW YOUR WILD NEIGHBORS EVENT LAUNCHES NATIONAL YOUTH ARTS CONTEST
PUBLIC-PRIVATE COLLABORATION ENCOURAGES AMERICAN YOUTH TO USE
THE GREAT OUTDOORS TO INSPIRE CREATIVITY
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 3, 2012 – The National Park Trust, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Federation, Association of Zoos & Aquariums, National Recreation and Park Association, Wildlife Habitat Council, Wildlife Forever, Outdoor Afro and the Get to Know Program are collaborating to launch the Get to Know Contest at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. on April 30, 2012. Local collaborators include U.S. Botanic Garden, The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, National Park Service, Friends of the National Zoo, and Living Classrooms of the National Capital Region.
This unprecedented collaboration promotes the national expansion of the contest which invites young people (19 years and younger) to spend more time outdoors and submit original works of art, writing, photography, video or music inspired by the natural world.
The Washington, D.C. launch event is one of seven events across the country that will kick off the contest. Lead organizer of the D.C. event, the National Park Trust, has been instrumental in the formation of this signature national event and is a strong supporter of the Get to Know Contest. "National Park Trust is delighted to organize this historic national launch event for the Get to Know Contest in D.C. which will bring more than 250 students and teachers to the U.S. Botanic Garden to learn about the unique parks, forests, wildlife refuges, gardens and other natural resources in their community. We hope students will be inspired by these special places to create art and build a more personal connection to nature," stated Grace Lee, Executive Director of National Park Trust (NPT).
Grace Lee will be joined by NPT's mascot Buddy Bison, Get to Know Program Director Mary Krupa-Clark, Harris Sherman, Under Secretary for U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, and other VIP guests who will welcome students at the event to highlight the importance of getting outdoors with their families and connecting with nature. Buddy Bison's message to children across the country is, "Explore outdoors, the parks are yours!"
Third and sixth grade students from D.C. metro-area public, public charter and private schools will learn the contest rules and will take a trek through the wilds of the U.S. Botanic Garden participating in a scavenger hunt as they discover six stations hosted by national and local collaborators. By linking them with other environmental programs, students will have multiple opportunities to develop a lasting interest in the outdoors and perhaps even seek careers in conservation and environmental science.
Initiated in 2000 by iconic Canadian artist Robert Bateman, the Get to Know Contest has inspired hundreds of thousands of Canadian youth to get outdoors and get to know their "wild" neighbors. Piloted in California in 2009, the contest has received 15,000 entries over the past two years. Due to this positive response, the 2012 contest will run nationally across Canada and, for the first time, the United States.
The theme for the 2012 Get to Know Contest is "Get to Know Your Wild Neighbors," in keeping with Robert Bateman's belief that "getting to know our neighbors of other species can begin right in our own backyard."
Art, writing, photography, video, and music entries can be submitted online at Get-To-Know.org between April 7th and July 16th, 2012. Entries can be viewed online during the contest. Contest winners will receive prizes, including an opportunity to attend an Art and Nature Camp at a National Park in Canada and having their entries published in the 2013 Get to Know Contest Calendar.
About National Park Trust
National Park Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. As people spend more time indoors and as successive generations grow up with less of a connection to nature, NPT wants to build greater awareness and appreciation for the importance of our country's public lands and parks. To learn more about our park preservation and youth education programs and National Kids to Parks Day, visit www.parktrust.org or our website for children www.buddybison.org.
About the Get to Know Program
Canadian wildlife artist Robert Bateman launched the Get to Know Contest in Canada in 2000 to inspire youth to "get to know their wild neighbors" by going outdoors and actively connecting with nature. All entries must be based on first-hand experiences with nature to qualify. After a successful two-year pilot in the State of California, the U.S. Get to Know Contest will expand across the country this year, open to all American's age 19 and under.
The Get to Know Program envisions a continent-wide shift in thinking, towards an understanding that conserving biodiversity is our shared responsibility. The Get to Know Contest provides young people with a gateway to the transformative educational programs of its partners—with the goal of inspiring the next generation of passionate environmental stewards. Recent Get to Know initiatives include Virtual Hikes - interactive learning resources which introduce youth to local green spaces; OISEAU – Agents of Nature, a program which draws youth outside to local parks in search of hidden hieroglyphs; and the Get to Know BioBlitz, a Canada-wide event which invites youth to participating parks, wildlife refuges, and other natural areas. For more information, visit www.get-to-know.org.
For information about the D.C. Get to Know event:
Grace Lee or Shana Newman Fajardo, National Park Trust
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org (301) 279-7275
For Information about the Get to Know Program:
Mary Krupa-Clark, Get to Know Program
email@example.com (250) 980-3969
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.
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