• 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.

Dave ParkerDave's passion for Parks began at an early age, camping in numerous Michigan State Parks with his family and hiking in the first National Park (Yellowstone) at age 14. Over the last 50 years he has explored 55 of our 60 National Parks, visiting many Parks numerous times. Dave's professional interest in parks began after his college days (BA-geography and Masters in Urban and Regional Planning), Wayne State University (Detroit) writing his graduate essay on "Open Space- Tools for Its Acquisition and Preservation". After service in the Air Force, he joined the Oakland County MI Planning Commission where he conducted water resource studies and represented the County at the sessions of the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Parks Authority. With the passage of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act in 1965, the Department of the Interior sought planners to join the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation (BOR) to assist states in developing their State Outdoor Recreation Plans. Dave joined BOR where he evaluated sites and plans and then was assigned to the legislative affairs division in DC This assignment lead to an opportunity to work on Parks legislation with the Senate Interior and Insular Committee headed by Chairman Henry (Scoop) Jackson. During this time legislation creating the Redwoods, North Cascades, Wild Rivers, and Scenic Trails were passed and signed into law by President Johnson on October 2, 1968. Upon returning to the Interior Department he joined the personal staff of the newly appointed Secretary of the Interior, Walter J. Hickel. During the two years with Hickel, Parker worked with the BOR and the NPS developing the concept of the Parks to the People program. He was also involved with the discussions that led to the creation of National Environmental Policy Act.
Once Hickel left office, Parker assisted the new incoming Secretary Rogers C.B. Morton with his transition. Shortly, thereafter Dave joined the White House Staff as the President's scheduling assistant. He remained in this position thru the rest of President' Nixon's tenure and stayed on with President Ford until he later joined the Department of Commerce as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Tourism. When Parker left government service in the late 70's, he became involved in the association community where he served as the VP Planning of the Edison Electric Institute, in 1989 he became the President of the Aluminum Association and in 1997 joined the American Gas Association as CEO a position he held until he retired in 2011. During this entire time he served on the Board of the American Society of Association of Executives (ASAE) Chairman in 1997-1998. Since 2011, he has served as an Advisor on the Clemson University Institute for Parks, Vice President of Finance for the National Capital Area Council, Boy Scouts of America (Parker is an Eagle Scout) and is an advisor to the American Red Cross.

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