Buddy Bison's Buzz - May 2012

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The Bronx Zoo, NY
Flying a kite in Porter County, IN
A national park in Iceland
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Hey Kids,

This past month I have been very busy traveling across the country to join students as they explore outdoors in some of our country's most beautiful parks and open spaces. Don't forget about National Kids to Parks Day on Saturday, May 19th! Make sure your family knows there is no better day to get outside and explore a park nearby!

Happy adventuring,

Buddy Bison

The Young Explorers of Longfellow Elementary School
Last month, thanks to Caesars Entertainment and their HERO volunteers, I was able to join the fourth graders from Longfellow Elementary School in Council Bluffs, IA on their field trip to the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. The park, which is located in Omaha, Nebraska, was one of the landing sites during the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804. Lewis and Clark were famous American explorers – the first to chart the northwestern part of our country and reach the Pacific Ocean.

The students of Longfellow learned about the exciting and sometimes dangerous journey of Lewis and Clark. They practiced the skills an explorer of that time needed, like writing with a quill pen and being able to draw pictures of newly discovered species of animals. The students were also taught about the importance of the Missouri River, both for the Lewis and Clark Expedition and to the Midwest. A favorite part of the trip was walking across the Missouri River on the brand new pedestrian bridge which connects Iowa and Nebraska. The students stood in the middle of the bridge and observed the river from above. A short time later, they took a river boat cruise which brought them underneath the very same bridge they had been standing on!

Here's what some of the students had to say about their adventure:

"We learned that Lewis and Clark were sent on a military mission and the map they were given had a big blank on it so as they explored they filled it while they traveled. They journaled on their way but since they did not have pencils or pens they made ink and used feathers." - Jasmine

"I'd like to thank the park rangers for teaching us about Lewis and Clark and the Native Americans. Did you know that a woman can put up a tepee in 30 minutes?" - Kaden

"I think this was the best field trip ever. I can't wait to go back again." - Michael


Beauvoir's Kindergartners Raise Pennies for the Parks
The kindergartners at Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary Schoolin Washington, DC invited me to their Flea Market, which benefited their "Pennies for the Parks" program. I was very impressed by the young salesmen and saleswomen! The students had booths set up where they were selling plants, grasses and crafts that they spent plenty of time growing and creating.

Unfortunately, bison are not allowed to use real money. If we were, I would have bought everything the students were selling! It was a good thing there were plenty of parents at the flea market. They purchased many of the students creations. The money that was made during the event was donated to help preserve parks. Thanks to the kindergartener's extra hard work, the National Park Trust will be able to use this money to make sure our nation's parks continue to be protected so we all can enjoy them.


A Great Time Getting to Know Their Wild Neighbors
On April 30th, Buddy Bison students from the Washington, DC metro area joined me at the U.S. Botanic Garden for the DC launch of the international Get to Know Art Contest! When they arrived, the students gathered together and listened to some very important people speak to them about turning off the TV and computer, and getting outside to appreciate all the natural world has to offer.
The students were broken into groups and led through various stations which taught them important lessons about our nation's parks, the outdoors, wildlife, plants and protecting the environment. At one of the stations, the students got to color in their own National Park Service Arrowhead and tried to guess the total number of national parks in the country. Do you know how many there are? You can find the answer here. Another station featured a game where the students were shown pictures of an animal or plant and then had to try to figure out what they were.
To enter your creative work (art, video, music, creative writing, photography) in to the contest, click here. A big thank you goes out to Get to Know, US Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Wildlife Federation for making this event possible.


KIPP DC Sees the Trees: A Journey through the U.S. National Arboretum
KIPP DC: WILL Academy joined me at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, DC this month. An arboretum is a living museum where trees, shrubs, and plants are grown and studied for scientific and educational purposes. During the trip, the students were broken up into four different groups and led around the Arboretum by their teachers and volunteers. They visited two different gardens where they got to taste different plants and herbs like asparagus, mint and a plant called stevia which tasted like sugar! They were also taken on a hike through the woods where they saw a snake, some lizards, a snapping turtle, and a bull frog.
Most of the students were in agreement that their favorite part of the trip was walking through the Bonsai exhibit. Bonsai, pronounced "bone-sigh" is an ancient Japanese art where a tree is trimmed in order to keep it from growing to its normal size. When this process is started, a tree is said to be "in training". Some of the trees in the exhibit have been in training for more than 100 years! One of the trees is almost 400 years old and still smaller than most of the KIPP DC students!


Third Graders from The Bullis School Put on a Show
The third graders at The Bullis School in Potomac, MD acted out the Buddy Bison play "Get Out" by Rob Cohen. Mr. Cohen was in attendance for the play. It was the first time it had ever been performed by actors and actresses! Three different people played me, Buddy Bison. As a bison, I don't know too much about acting, but from what I saw I think everyone in the play deserves an award!

Adventurer of the Month – Danica from Elsmere, KY

Congratulations to my Adventurer of the Month for May – Danica from Elsmere, KY! Danica wins the award for her exploration of Big Bone Lick State Park.

Danica hiked two miles of trails throughout the park. These trails led her to the mineral springs that were famous in the early 19th century for their restorative powers. She also hiked through areas that were once covered with large mastodon and mammoth fossils (Thomas Jefferson sent William Clark to the area to collect fossils which he kept in his private collection). Finally, she journeyed to the fields which are home to the park's bison herd. Her favorite part of the day was "when I got to see the new baby bison that was only six days old". Danica loves going out into nature where she hikes through the woods and gets to see tons of wildlife.

Parent / Teacher Corner

National Kids to Parks Day is May 19th!

Where will you be on Saturday, May 19th? Take Buddy Bison's advice and explore a park with your family and friends.

More than 68,000 people have already signed up to participate. If you're looking for a park activity, you're in luck! There are more than 200 events listed in 39 states! Join the fun at www.kidstoparks.org.

Get Buddy Bison for the Whole Family!

Get Buddy Bison today!

Buddy Bison tells kids to "Explore outdoors, the parks are yours!" Kids (and adults) love taking Buddy with them to parks and snapping a few photos.

National Park Trust features these photos on Facebook, Twitter and the Where's Buddy Bison Been? Map!

Once you get your own Buddy, snap some shots and email them to buddy@buddybison.org!

Free Webinar for Students – BatsLIVE on May 17th!

BatsLIVE is a FREE, live electronic field trip for students in grades four through eight. This program will feature live bats and include information about bats' roles in ecosystems, myths, threats to bats, and how to help these beneficial creatures.

To register for the webinar, which takes place on May 17th from 1:00-2:00 pm EDT, click here.

Buddy Bison wants you to visit, explore and protect our nation’s parks. Bring him along as you roam and tell everyone Where Buddy Bison’s Been!

National Park Trust / 401 East Jefferson Street, Suite 102, Rockville, MD 20850
301-279-PARK (7275) / buddy@buddbison.org / www.parktrust.org/buddy

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