NPT News - October 2011


October 2011 ISSUE
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NPT News

Mission: The National Park Trust's mission is to champion the preservation of America's critical
parklands through land acquisition, education and partnerships.

DOI Secretary Ken Salazar at the American Latino Heritage Forum

America's Latino population is growing rapidly – Latinos are now the largest minority group – and during the White House American Latino Heritage Forum on October 12th, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar discussed how important it is for the National Park Service to begin to locate and preserve sites that are of historical and cultural importance to Latinos. "The forum provided a wonderful opportunity for Latino leaders to share their ideas on how best to honor their outstanding contributions to this country," said Grace Lee, NPT's executive director.

Last year, NPT presented Salazar with the American Park Experience Award for his commitment to protect public lands and to reconnect communities and our youth with the outdoors. His push to designate national monuments and landmarks that have significance to the American Latino culture is representative of his understanding of the importance of connecting all parts of our population to our public lands. Although minorities make up 35% of America’s population, less than 3% of the national landmarks we have are designated for them. To read more about Salazar’s plans for moving forward, click here.

Buddy Bison on National Fossil Day

Students Have a Blast with Buddy Bison on 2nd Annual National Fossil Day

On October 12th, Buddy Bison students from the following schools: Washington Jesuit Academy, Beauvoir, Elise Whitlow Stokes PCS, Phoebe Hearst Elementary, and Washington Latin PCS attended the 2011 Fossil Day event on the National Mall as part of Earth Science Week. When the students arrived, Buddy Bison was already there waiting to meet them. Upon spotting their furry friend, the children were overcome with excitement.

The students were led by park rangers and volunteers through the various fossil stations that had been set up by the National Park Service and others. At these stations they learned how to indentify various kinds of fossils, analyzed some interesting skeletons, and participated in activities like making pine cone birdfeeders. The children also had the opportunity to explore the Museum of Natural History, which offered a welcome shelter as it started to rain in the afternoon.

To see more pictures of the students at Fossil Day, click here.

Dr. Zarr with his son at one of the Washington D.C. areas many parks

Writing a Prescription for More Parks

Dr. Robert Zarr, a national spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and president of the DC AAP recently blogged that “around forty percent of my patients between the ages 2-20 are either overweight or obese. In addition, many suffer from co-morbid conditions like hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnea, and low self-esteem.” These are sad but true statistics, and they are not localized – they are consistent and widespread throughout our country.

Evidence of health problems in children due to inactivity is a major motivation behind the mission of NPT's Buddy Bison program that gets kids to parks and moving outdoors. Dr. Zarr has been instrumental in connecting NPT with members of the AAP and local hospitals as we promote the wellness benefits of our Buddy Bison program.

Dr. Zarr and his colleagues know that getting our children to be more active is going to require “a more targeted approach”, as opposed to just recommending a less sedentary lifestyle. This targeted approach has taken the form of a tool, the park prescription, that can be used by doctors to locate parks near their patients, and to provide them with information about the easiest ways to get there, what activities are possible, and the accessibility for people with disabilities. The hope is that doctors will be able to follow up with the success of their patient’s trips and monitor their progress as they seek to get healthy by utilizing one of our nation’s most valuable resources – our parks.

A Week on the Anacostia River

A Week on the Anacostia River

From Tuesday, October 25th through Saturday, October 29th, hundreds of Washington D.C. area students from schools participating in the Where’s Buddy Bison Been? program will have the opportunity to canoe down the Anacostia River and learn valuable information about river ecology and water safety from National Park Service and Army Corps park rangers. This unique opportunity is possible thanks to the efforts of Wilderness Inquiry (WI) from Minnesota. WI transports six handmade 10-passenger canoes from the Twin Cities to Washington D.C. and coordinates the week-long event!

Pictured here is Army Corps Ranger Theodis Williams who along with other rangers will teach students about the importance of water safety and of protecting our rivers.

As Government Budgets Tighten, Private Donations Fund Major Park Restorations

Yosemite National Park in California is considered to be one of the most iconic parks in the country. It was John Muir’s original experience in the Yosemite Valley that motivated his efforts towards conserving such large areas of land and protecting them from development. This month marks the culmination of a $13.5 million dollar trail restoration project in Yosemite where hundreds of workers made adjustments and new installations to popular paths such as the John Muir Trail.

Of the $13.5 million dollars needed to complete this project (the largest in Yosemite’s history), $10.5 million was paid for with private donations alone. These donations are endorsed and collected by organizations like NPT, assisting national parks that have seen funding from the government suddenly disappear. NPT has a variety of parkland projects currently underway. To learn more about our current land projects and how you can help contact Shana Newman Fajardo at or 301-279-7275.

Bid to Win a Special Time in a Special Place

The Association of Partners for Public Lands (APPL) is putting on “The Special Times in Special Places” Auction that allows the public to bid on outdoor experience packages to some of the nations most beautiful national parks, including Yosemite, Acadia, and Denali. During the experience you and your guests will learn about and enjoy the natural and cultural heritage of America’s public lands.

The bidding will stay open until October 28th, so don’t hesitate – click here to place a bid and have a chance to win a truly memorable experience in one of America’s national parks. All proceeds benefit APPL.

NPT Has New Pages on Facebook and Twitter

National Park Trust has recently updated its profiles on Facebook and Twitter. We are hoping to grow our online community so that our supporters can become even more involved in helping us to achieve our goals and stay updated on recent happenings.

Our new Facebook page is:

And you can follow us on Twitter: @ParksAreYours

We look forward to having you join the conversation, and encourage you to upload photos and stories from your own park experiences.

National Park Trust  /  401 E. Jefferson Street, Suite 102  /  Rockville, MD 20850  /  Email:  /