• 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.

Krista Gordon Buddy Award Med

Grace Lee, NPT executive director, surprised Krista Gordon at Alderwood Elementary School in Bellingham, WA with The Buddy at an all-school assembly. Krista, a substitute teacher, found inspiration while whale watching off the shore of San Juan Island and wanted to share this experience with students in her community. Two years ago she helped her Alderwood Elementary students apply for the Kids to Parks Day National School Contest. They won and used the funds to visit Lime Kiln Point State Park.

Our contest inspired Krista to raise funds locally and also re-enter the contest for a second year. With the money she raised last year including a contest grant, 10 of the 14 schools in her district were able to visit Lime Kiln Point State Park to see whales and learn about their environment.

Krista believes that the experience of visiting Lime Kiln Point -- taking the ferry, exploring the rocky seashore, meeting with scientists, and whale-watching from shore impacts each child differently, stating, "My job is to plant the seed of experience. Each student decides how those seeds will grow. All come away understanding their actions have an impact though and that simple things like picking up trash make a difference." She added, "Students took pride and ownership of their experience because they earned their trip by preparing their contest entry. Receiving the grant let them know others felt their experience was valuable too."

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