• Thanks to your support, 2016 was a record-breaking year for Kids to Parks Day! Watch our KTP Day 2016 summary video.​

    Mapping our progress


  • 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 Director of Youth Programs.

Secretary Ken Salazar Celebrated for Expanding the American Park Experience (2010)


“In my job, I always say the most inspiring thing I get to do is work with young people,” remarked Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar at an event in his honor at DAR’s O’Byrne Gallery where he was celebrated by federal officials, corporate stakeholders, environmentalists and school administrators.

The Secretary was there to accept NPT’s second American Park Experience Award – a tribute reserved for those who have made outstanding contributions to enhance the awareness and appreciation of our nation’s parks, wildlife refuges, and historic landmarks (the first co-recipients were Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan). The Secretary was tapped for the award because of his lengthy history of land preservation, in creating Sand Dunes National Park and conserving the South Platte River Basin, pursuing full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, along with spearheading the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative and Listening Sessions, and creating the Office of Youth in the Great Outdoors. But through his remarks, Secretary Salazar focused on the urgency of making the parks a vital fixture in the lives of the next generation.

Standing alongside Secretary Salazar at the podium were children who participate in NPT’s Buddy Bison school program from Washington Latin and Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter Schools and the Bullis School. These students spent a few minutes prior to the ceremony sharing with the Secretary the many ways the Buddy Bison program has expanded their knowledge of public lands and inspired a thirst for conservation. As part of the Secretary’s award presentation, they then joined together in an inaugural performance of “Get Out to the Great Outdoors,” the title tune from the new Buddy Bison musical! The children’s words echoed the Secretary’s call to connect youth with our public lands.

NPT’s Board of Directors unanimously selected the Secretary to receive the Award for his work spearheading the America’s Great Outdoors initiative, which will help reshape the nation’s conservation policies and for his work to create Youth in Natural Resources Programs. NPT also applauds his initiatives at the Department of Interior to build a 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps to engage, educate and employ young people from all backgrounds to explore, connect with and preserve our country’s unique natural and cultural heritage.

NPT also praised his lifetime commitment to protect the nation’s public lands. This is exemplified by his past support for the creation of Great Sand Dunes National Park, by his work in the South Platte River Basin, and by his current work at the Department of the Interior to achieve full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and to expand protection of our treasured landscapes.

“The Secretary’s passion to engage youth with the outdoors and in conservation, especially those who are underserved, is an inspiration for our Youth to Parks programs and for the many students, teachers, and families who participate in the Trust’s youth programs, including our Where’s Buddy Bison Been?® Program,” says William Brownell, NPT Chairman of the Board.

The American Park Experience Award was established in 2009 to recognize an individual or group that has made outstanding contributions to enhance the awareness and appreciation of our nation’s parks, wildlife refuges, and historic landmarks. Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan were the first co-recipients of this award. The Secretary accepted the Award at a reception in Washington, D.C. in the winter of 2010.

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