NPT News - July 2014

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Shenandoah National Park

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LWCF Highlighted by Department of the Interior as Fund Marks 50th Anniversary

Earlier this month, Secretary Sally Jewell and the Department of the Interior (DOI) celebrated "Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Week" to publicize the importance of LWCF and the Obama Administration's commitment to reauthorization and full funding of the program. The Fund marks its 50th anniversary on July 23the date on which the LWCF Act passed the House of Representatives 50 years ago.

Several of NPT's recent parkland acquisition projects including those that benefited Glacier National Park (MT) and Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park (GA) were accomplished thanks to resources from LWCF.

The mission of the LWCF is so important that Congress earmarked $900 million for this Fund. So the parks are all set right???? Not so fast. Unfortunately, LWCF has only been fully funded once in 50 years and is set to expire if Congress doesn’t renew the program.

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Senator Ron Wyden with Oregon school children.

2014 Vento Award Honoring Wyden Results in New Buddy Bison Schools

As many of you may already know, on June 11th NPT honored Senator Ron Wyden (OR) with the 2014 Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award for his decades of leadership to protect and preserve our parks and public lands. Senator Wyden is the chair of the Senate Finance Committee and former chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.Thanks to the generosity of two of our Vento Award event sponsors, Prudential and Emerson Electric, NPT is proud to announce the addition of two new Buddy Bison Schools in Portland and Fossil, Oregon.

Senator Wyden stated, “When a person is young, a positive experience with Oregon’s outdoor treasures or learning about the natural environment can resonate through her or his whole life. The National Park Trust's Buddy Bison program will enable Oregon students to experience our state’s wonders first-hand, and provide valuable STEM education at the same time.”

At Boise-Eliot/Humboldt School in inner-city Portland, students will kick-off the Buddy Bison environmental education program by traveling to Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument in September. "Prudential is delighted to provide support for National Park Trust and Portland's Boise-Eliot/Humboldt school to enhance their 5th-grade science curriculum," stated Steve Pelletier, Prudential Executive Vice President and head of US businesses."Parks are wonderful places for hands-on learning."

The students at Fossil Charter School in the small rural town of Fossil have a lofty goal -- to take a field trip to Crater Lake. However, because this destination is over 4 ½ hours away by vehicle, it will require an overnight stay, the cost of which would be well out of their reach. According to Patrick Sly, Emerson Executive Vice President, “We are delighted to support National Park Trust to honor Senator Ron Wyden and to provide the important resources that will allow the students from Fossil Charter School to participate in the Buddy Bison school program this upcoming school year."

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Cutting Greenhouse Gases using the Buddy Bison Reduction Carbon Contest

Do you have any idea how big your carbon footprint may be? Did you know that the Caesars Foundation cares about that answer? Although you may not have thought about the answers to either of these questions, Caesars is very proud of their company’s first comprehensive environmental sustainability strategy called CodeGreen. Building on our multi-year partnership, Caesars is working with NPT and Terrapass to create a Buddy Bison carbon reduction school contest that will engage elementary school students and their employees in fun creative ways to: 1) learn about greenhouse gases and assess their consumption in energy and waste; 2) set goals for students to reduce carbon emissions, waste and energy; 3) create easy action steps to reduce energy and waste consumption; 4) quantify results so actions equal results; and 5) earn park scholarships for their schools!

"We are very pleased to continue our partnership with National Park Trust through the support of the Buddy Bison Carbon Reduction Contest," said Gwen Migita, Vice President Sustainability & Corporate Citizenship, Caesars Entertainment Corporation. "The contest offers an engaging way to educate and empower elementary school students and our employees to reduce energy and waste consumption, which is a core focus of our corporate citizenship efforts."

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Dare2BNYC students at Statue of Liberty.

Connecting Homeless Children to our Parks

A heartfelt thanks to The North Face (TNF) Explore Fund, for awarding NPT a grant that will facilitate a partnership with Dare2BNYC to provide park experiences for homeless children in New York City (NYC). By granting NPT an Explore Fund Grant, The North Face will provide 15 to 20 homeless children (middle and high school) in NYC with the opportunity to participate in an 8-week Buddy Bison program where they will complete a series of conservation, stewardship and educational activities at park sites throughout NYC during the summer and early fall of 2014. They will also learn about careers in the conservation arena.

Ann Krcik, director of Outdoor Exploration at The North Face, shared why TNF supports efforts like those of NPT: “These organizations are grounded in the belief that if you can get kids to love the outdoors, not only will they develop skills that will help them throughout life, but they will grow up to care about their natural world, protecting the places they explore.”

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Mike Soukup Joins NPT Leadership Council

NPT is proud to announce the newest addition to our Leadership Council – Michael Soukup.

Mike was the Chief Scientist for the National Park System (NPS) for 12 years and was the key architect of the Natural Resource Challenge – the NPS vision for approaching the next century of rapid environmental change. That program initiated a 13-agency Cooperative Ecosystem Studies (CESU) Network with over 300 academic partners, 19 research learning centers, and a long-term faunal/floral inventory and monitoring system for the 270 natural resource parks. Most recently, Mike is the past president and CEO of the Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park; he currently serves on several boards and as director of science for the Schoodic Institute.

We are delighted to welcome Mike Soukup as our newest member of the Leadership Council," stated Chuck Knauss, NPT board member and chair of the Leadership Council. "Mike's expertise in the ecosystems of our national parks and dedication to education will be a tremendous asset for our land preservation work and for our Buddy Bison environmental education program.” Mike agreed to serve on the Leadership Council because, in his own words, “the National Park Trust can be a valuable asset in assuring a bright future for national parks and I hope to help however I can.”

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