The best gift anyone can buy is protecting our National Parks and historical landmarks. These public spaces are where everyone is welcome to explore nature and learn about the past. So this Giving Tuesday, I hope you will consider donating to the National Park Trust. National Park Trust protects and preserves our public lands and helps inspire future park stewards – like me.

Through the Park Trust’s Buddy Bison programs, kids like me are learning how to promote, protect, and preserve our public lands and historical landmarks.

2021 is my third year serving as a National Park Trust Student Ambassador. Through this program, I have learned all about our national parks and how to help protect them. As an Ambassador, I travel to parks with a miniature Buddy Bison by my side. My Buddy Bison and I have done public speaking, learned to promote parks, and volunteered to pick up trash and collect tallgrass prairie seeds. The Ambassador program has given me the skills and education to be a park steward for life. When I think of all the wonderful memories I have made as a Student Ambassador; I am grateful for those who have donated to the program.

One of the main reasons I want to protect and preserve our National Parks is because most of my favorite family memories have taken place outdoors.

Think back over your own favorite memories, and I bet a lot of them were outside, too. Maybe it was the first time you slept under the stars and realized how many there are when you get away from the light pollution of cities. Or maybe it was the first time you caught a fish. Here are just a few of the memories I have made at our National and State parks:

  • Walking across the Mississippi headwaters at Itasca State Park
  • Jumping over the Nebraska/Iowa state line with a Park Guide at the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge near the Lewis and Clark Trail Headquarters
  • Celebrating Presidents’ Day by visiting. Harry. S. Truman’s home
  • Meditating on a rock in the middle of a stream at Pipestone National Monument.
  • Learning how to churn butter at Homestead National Monument
  • Trying on heavy European armor at De Soto National Memorial park
Joslyn umping over the Iowa/Nebraska State Line with Guide Kephart
Joslyn and Buddy Bison at Tallgrass Prairie National Monument

When you give to the National Park Trust, you are giving a gift everyone likes because there is something at the parks for everyone. For example, in my family, my Dad likes to canoe and hike, my Mom likes being in the peace and quiet, and my younger sister loves seeing animals. And guess what has all those things – our National Parks! I have even discovered a new hobby I enjoy: taking nature photos. So now, when my family takes hikes to see a beautiful view, I try to remember my camera. I hope to visit Sequoia National Park and take pictures of the trees! I wouldn’t have discovered this hobby if I hadn’t been outside hiking to see beautiful views.

When we give to parks or volunteer to help them, we are giving to the places where we can all enjoy nature. Everyone is welcome at our parks and historic landmarks. For the price of park admission, you can get access to millions of acres of beautiful nature and historic sites. That is a lot of land for us all to explore and enjoy!

So please consider giving to our National Park Trust today, so that our public lands will still be there for us to make memories tomorrow.