• We were honored to recognize Congresswoman Betty McCollum (Minnesota, 4th District) with the 16th Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award on June 16th. Watch our video tribute here and learn more about our mission and programs.​

    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.

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National Park Trust, Outdoors Alliance for Kids Receive The North Face 2016 Explore Fund Grants

NPT’s Buddy Bison Program funded to increase access to the outdoors for youth in 5 urban cities.


Washington, D.C.  – June 30, 2016 – In this Centennial year of the National Park Service, National Park Trust is pleased to announce that The North Face has awarded two 2016 Explore Fund grants to benefit our national Buddy Bison School Program. The Buddy Bison program was created in 2009 with the goal of getting kids from under-served communities engaged with our nation’s parks and public lands to experience outdoor recreation, education, and service opportunities. Currently 53 Title 1 public, public charter and private schools across the country -- spanning grades 2 through 8 -- are participating in the program.

In partnership with the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK), the first grant, Buddy Bison Gets 4th Graders Park-ing, will be used to kick off the second year of President Obama’s Every Kid in a Park initiative in 5 cities including Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco. OAK is a national strategic partnership of over 85 organizations from diverse sectors advocating for equitable and readily available opportunities for children, youth and families to connect with the outdoors. Fourth graders from Title 1 schools in these cities will participate in marquee events with The North Face, National Park Trust, OAK and alliance members and be welcomed into the Buddy Bison School Program with funds from the Explore Fund providing park trips to national parks that promote outdoor recreation and align with their school curriculum. 

“The Outdoors Alliance for Kids is answering President Obama’s call to action to get every kid in a park,” said Jackie Ostfeld, Co-Founder and Chair of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids. “We’re honored and thankful that The North Face has made such an important investment to ensure more and more children are able to have a park experience, and we look forward to growing our partnership.”

The second grant, Buddy Bison in the Big Apple, will be used to engage children from K through 8th grades residing in homeless shelters in New York City. Dare2BNYC, a non-profit based in New York City that works to break the cycle of poverty and improve homelessness, will once again work closely with NPT to provide access to parks for these youth. For these students, the Buddy Bison program will emphasize not only outdoor recreation and education, but also career opportunities that support our national parks and public lands. Students will have the opportunity to participate in 4 park experiences and meet with career professionals that support the parks as well as volunteers from The North Face store in Manhattan.

“As we approach the 100th birthday of the National Park Service, we are delighted to share the great news about our expanded partnership with The North Face to provide park experiences for hundreds of students from underserved communities. The Explore Fund will allow many of these students to experience their first park trip where they will enjoy fun outdoor recreation, and learn about STEM, history, park stewardship and career opportunities that support our national parks. ” stated Grace Lee, executive director, National Park Trust.

Both of these grants will be used starting this fall and throughout the 2016-2017 school year.  

The North Face selected 45 nonprofits that engage their participants in opportunities that inspire a lifelong love of the outdoors. Selected programs use outdoor exploration as a catalyst for positive personal or societal change, to encourage participants to try new outdoor activities, and promote environmental stewardship values.

“Encouraging people to experience and enjoy the outdoors has been our mission at The North Face since we were founded 50 years ago,” said Ann Krcik, senior director of Outdoor Exploration at The North Face. “We are proud to support these outstanding programs that expose participants to the beauty and joy of the outdoors. Through these Explore Fund grants, we are building a community of outdoor explorers and inspiring people to love and protect the places where we play.”

As part of its mission to start a global movement of outdoor exploration, The North Face introduced Explore Fund (www.explorefund.org) in 2010 and the program has since provided more than $2.2 million in grants to organizations committed to inspiring people to explore the outdoors and care for the environment.

About The North Face®

The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor, Inc., was founded in 1966. Headquartered in Alameda, California, the company offers the most technically advanced products in the market to accomplished climbers, mountaineers, snowsport athletes, endurance athletes, and explorers. The company's products are sold in specialty mountaineering, backpacking, running, and snowsport retailers, premium-sporting goods retailers and major outdoor specialty retail chains.

About National Park Trust

National Park Trust, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. Since 1983, NPT has completed more than 100 park preservation projects benefiting 49 national parks and other public lands in 33 states and Washington, D.C. Since 2009, our Buddy Bison School Program and Kids to Parks Day have engaged nearly 2,000,000 students across the country with our national parks, public lands and waters.


About the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK)

OAK is a national strategic partnership of organizations from diverse sectors with a common interest in connecting children, youth and families with the outdoors. The members of OAK are brought together by the belief that the wellness of current and future generations, the health of our planet and communities and the economy of the future depend on humans having a personal, direct and life-long relationship with nature and the outdoors. OAK brings together more than eighty businesses and organizations, led by a steering committee which includes representatives from the Alliance for Childhood, American Heart Association, Children & Nature Network, Latino Outdoors, National Recreation and Park Association, National Wildlife Federation, NatureBridge, The North Face, Public Lands Service Coalition (a program of The Corps Network), REI, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society and the YMCA of the USA to address the growing divide between children, youth and the natural world. For more information:www.outdoorsallianceforkids.org

Media contact:

Caren Bell

On behalf of The North Face



Grace Lee

National Park Trust


301-279-7275, ext 14

Brenna Muller

Outdoors Alliance for Kids



Timed with the National Park Centennial, the specialty outdoor retailer, outdoor advocacy groups and the Mayor work together to get every kid in D.C. to a park Boulder, Colo.; Seattle, Wash.; Washington, D.C.— REI, national specialty outdoor retailer and consumer co-op, has partnered with the Outdoor Foundation, Outdoor Industry Association, The Conservation Fund, and Mayor Bowser to ensure every public school 4th grader in Washington, D.C. has a powerful national park experience this year. Via Parks4Kids, an initiative of the Outdoor Foundation and the Outdoor Industry Association, and the support of the Mayor’s office, approximately 3,300 4th graders in the District will have the opportunity to visit a nearby national park.

Organized and managed by the National Park Trust and supported by the Mayor, the park trips will include visits to Rock Creek Park, C&O Canal, the National Mall and Prince William Forest Park. The partnership effort will support the broader ‘Every Kid in a Park’ initiative, which was announced by the White House this year and has the goal of providing an opportunity for every 4th grade student in the country to visit a national park or other federally managed lands and waters nationwide. The Parks4Kids program, launched in January by Outdoor Foundation and Outdoor Industry Association, engages the entire outdoor industry, other sectors and the general public in a nationwide effort to get more kids to parks.

“Thanks to the generous support and leadership from a wide range of partners, we’re thrilled that every 4th grade student in our nation’s capital will have a meaningful park experience – resulting in an important new alliance of outdoor enthusiasts and champions,” said Chris Fanning, executive director of the Outdoor Foundation. “Building on the momentum and success of this effort, I hope that other cities, companies and foundations will work with us to replicate this exciting and impactful model.”

“I want to thank REI for their commitment to DC, and for giving our young people greater exposure to our parkland,” Mayor Bowser. “We have some of the nation’s most beautiful parks in and around Washington, DC, and I am thrilled that our 4th graders will experience the wonder and beauty of the great outdoors.”

Support for this initiative is just part of REI’s commitment and investment in Washington, D.C., as the company opens a flagship store in the District later this year.

“At REI we believe a life outdoors is a life well-lived. So today we’re thrilled to support the nationwide effort to ensure every 4th grader gets into a park at least once this year,” said Marc Berejka, REI’s director of government and community affairs. “During the Centennial year of the National Parks and with our new D.C. flagship store opening later this year, it’s particularly special for us to sponsor outdoor experiences for the District’s public school 4th graders. We hope that with these many, many young steps into parks this year, we’ll see many more lovers of the outdoors emerge in the years to come.”

This year, in celebration of the National Park Centennial, every 4th grader across the country has access to a free park pass. On average, it costs only $10 to give a student a park experience. And yet, many cannot afford to get to parks nor have the gear and equipment to recreate there. That’s where programs like Parks4Kids come in. Individuals and organizations interested in helping get more-kids-to-parks can visit www.parks4kids.info and choose from over one hundred projects in need of support.

“Connecting young people to nature is one of the most important investments the conservation community can make. The return on this investment, in terms of health, productivity and future support for public funding for conservation, is unmatched. The Conservation Fund is thrilled to provide critical support for this effort,” said Larry Selzer, president and CEO of The Conservation Fund.

The local partners are actively working with others in the community to build on this initiative’s exciting momentum.

"In this centennial year of the National Park Service, we are delighted to on this historic opportunity to get every 4th grader connected with their local national parks. Our parks are wonderful outdoor classrooms and great places for outdoor recreation. D.C. is very fortunate to have many different types of parks around the corner and across town,” stated Grace Lee, executive director, National Park Trust.

“Today marks a crucial step toward our goal to get all 4th grader across the country to a National Park,” said Amy Roberts executive director, OIA. “By bringing our children to the country’s National Parks, we are introducing them to recreational opportunities which will serve them for a lifetime.”

For the remainder of 2016, the National Park Centennial, 4th graders across the country will be granted free entry to any National Park or federally managed land.

Outdoor Industry Association
Based in Boulder, CO, with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA unites and serves over 1200 manufacturer, supplier, sales representative and retailer members through its focus on trade and recreation policy, sustainable business, market & consumer insights and industry trends. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353.

Outdoor Foundation
The philanthropic arm of Outdoor Industry Association, the Outdoor Foundation is dedicated to inspiring the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts. Through youth engagement, community grant-making, and groundbreaking research, the Foundation works with partners to mobilize a major cultural shift that leads all Americans to the great outdoors. In just five years, the Foundation has invested $4 million into 785 not-for-profit and college programs that have connected 200,000 young people to the outdoors.

The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than 7.5 million acres of land.

Press Release Contact
Christine Fanning | OUTDOOR FOUNDATION | (202) 271-3252 | cfanning@outdoorfoundation.org

Channel Islands National Park News Release

May 16, 2016
For Immediate Release
Yvonne Menard, yvonne_menard@nps.gov 805-658-5725

Famous Oceanographer Leads Channel Islands Live Dive for Nationwide BioBlitz

Ventura, CA — Dr. Sylvia Earle, a renowned oceanographer and explorer, will lead two Channel Islands Live Dive presentations that will be broadcast to the National Mall in Washington, DC, as part of a national BioBlitz and a Kids to Parks Day celebration, on Saturday, May 21.

During the Live Dive, Earle will speak about the kelp forest, one of the richest marine environments in the world, to live audiences at the National Mall in DC, on Anacapa Island, and at the park visitor center in the Ventura Harbor. The presentations will also be viewable at 10:00 am and 12:00 pm PT at explore.org or Channel Islands Live.

The 2016 National Parks BioBlitz is the tenth in a series of expeditions, provided in partnership with the National Geographic Society, to encourage citizens around the country to participate in hands-on science activities and to document the species that thrive in our national parks. This year, more than 100 national parks and partner sites across the United States will bring together scientists, naturalists, students, and families to explore and celebrate our nation’s biodiversity.

May 21 also marks the sixth annual Kids to Parks Day a national day of outdoor play, hosted by the National Park Trust, to encourage families to explore and celebrate America’s public lands and waters.

The BioBlitz and Kids to Parks Day event at Channel Islands National Park also includes a Biodiversity Festival at the park visitor center in the Ventura Harbor on May 21, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. The National Park Service, National Park Trust, and Channel Islands Park Foundation are providing transportation costs for nearly 400 youth from Fillmore, Santa Paula, Somis, and Port Hueneme to attend the park events.

The local students and families will participate in citizen science by documenting park species, and will learn about the islands’ history and diversity of life. They will join a ranger along the shoreline to make observations about local flora and fauna and will identify the different species present in the native plant garden. They will help keep our beaches clean as part of a beach cleanup and determine which ―"species" of trash is most commonly found.

At 11:25 am, there will be a special performance by students from Ojai Valley School singing the Centennial Children’s Anthem for National Parks. This performance is part of a national student effort to express the human connection to nature through song. The performance will be taped and added to a composite video featuring footage of students and youth groups from across the country.

At 11:00 am, park ecologist David Mazurkiewicz will present a talk about research being done to help restore native seabird populations on the islands. At 2:00 pm, park biologist Stephen Whitaker will discuss current rocky intertidal monitoring efforts at Channel Islands National Park. Ranger-led tidepool programs will occur at 1:00 and 3:00 pm.

Additionally, the event will feature family-friendly crafts, including button-making and fish prints, and a Junior Ranger station will allow visitors to earn their badges as a Channel Islands National Park Junior Ranger, a Centennial Junior Ranger, an Underwater Explorer, or a Junior Paleontologist.
About the National Park Service

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 411 national park sites and work with communities across the nation to help preserve and experience these treasures. To learn more visit www.nps.gov.

About the National Geographic Society
The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world. With the support of members and donors, they work to inspire, illuminate, and teach, through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism, education initiatives, and more. For more information, visit National Geographic.

About the National Park Trust
The National Park Trust is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of our nation's critical parks and public lands and the engagement of our youth – especially those who are underserved – with nature. To learn more about Kids to Parks Day, visit National Park Trust.

About Explore.org
The Explore Annenberg LLC is a charitable, nonprofit organization with a mission to champion the selfless acts of others, create a portal for the education of humanity and inspire lifelong learning. Explore uses the power of the internet, images, music, dialogue and the written word to fulfill its mission. Both educational and inspirational, Explore offers a portal for public viewing of live video and live webcams at explore.org.

About Channel Islands Park Foundation
Formed in 2005, Channel Islands Park Foundation is the only nonprofit, philanthropic partner of Channel Islands National Park. In cooperation with the national park, the Foundation funds education, protection, and preservation efforts. For more information. visit ciparkfoundation.org

This publication is available online at www.nps.gov/chis/parknews/newsreleases/htm

McCollum Receives Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award

Jun 17, 2016

Vento2016 McCollum Sue Bill CRPCongresswoman McCollum addresses attendees after receiving the Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award. National Park Trust chair Bill Brownell and Sue Vento are also pictured.

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DMN) received the Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award from the National Park Trust at an event at the Newseum in Washington Thursday evening. 

Given annually to a public servant who has “demonstrated a lifetime of outstanding service, skill, resourcefulness or innovation in the preservation of land, water or historic resources for the legacy of America,” the award honors the memory of Congressman Bruce Vento, Congresswoman McCollum’s predecessor in Congress and a former Chair of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands.

"This award is particularly special to me because I was Congressman Vento's constituent when he served in the U.S. House. At the same time, Bruce was my constituent when I served in the Minnesota State House. More than that, he was a friend and my mentor for more than 20 years," Congresswoman McCollum said. "As Ranking Member of the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, I'm proud that my role has given me a chance to work on many of the same issues he did."

The National Park Trust is a national charity dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. Previous recipients of the Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award have included such high-profile figures as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) and Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and Mark Udall (D-CO).

Photos from the event are available here. The full text of Congresswoman McCollum's remarks is below:

Good evening. Thank you, Sue and Bill, for those very kind words of introduction. And I am so appreciative that Vice President Mondale's appeared in the video -- what a great surprise!

And thank you, Lloyd, Wali, and Weldon for the t-shirt and book. I'm very glad that you have had the opportunity to experience our national treasures through the Buddy Bison program.

The Buddy Bison program is just one example of the tremendous work of the National Park Trust. Your vision of preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow is one I share.

That's one reason I am honored to receive the Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award.

But it's not the only reason. This award is particularly special to me because I was Congressman Vento's constituent when he served in the U.S. House. At the same time, Bruce was my constituent when I served in the Minnesota State House.

And Bruce was much, much more. Bruce Vento was a friend and my mentor for more than 20 years.

Over the years, Bruce and I campaigned together and worked together on local projects.

As Bruce was fighting to protect our National Parks, he still found time to partner with me on local efforts like the restoration of Lake Phalen on the east side of St. Paul.

He even lent me the resources of his terrific staff and strategists, including Larry Romans, Rick Healy, and Peter Gove, all of whom are here tonight.

By the time I was elected to the Minnesota State House in 1993, Bruce had already established a legacy of protecting our public lands and national treasures. Because he always fought the good fight, his work was an inspiration.

Bruce would probably have given me grief for becoming an appropriator instead of an authorizer, but as Ranking Member of the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, I'm proud that my role has given me a chance to work on many of the same issues he did.

One of Bruce's greatest legacies is his tireless work to protect northern Minnesota's Boundary Waters.

The BWCA wasn't just an issue for Bruce, it was a passion. He dedicated much of his career to ensuring this million acres of pristine land and water was protected.

Everyone here tonight should understand that the Boundary Waters are again under threat -- this time from copper-sulfide mining that would do irreparable harm to this pristine area.

That is why I have been working with the Obama administration to ensure that this dangerous mining is never allowed in the watershed.

Bruce's interest in conserving and protecting our treasured spaces stretched to all 50 states and beyond.

I remember receiving one of Bruce's congressional newsletters when he was waging a particularly fierce battle to preserve the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

In tiny mosquito type spilled over four pages, Bruce had laid out all the reasons we had to protect ANWR.

Let me tell you: reading that letter was a commitment. It started on my kitchen table, went to my coffee table, and ended up on my bedside table.

It may not have included the pithiest talking points, but that newsletter sure represented the commitment and passion of a science teacher.

Bruce understood that to create the next generation of conservationists -- the park stewards of tomorrow -- we have to get young people into our parks today. As a social studies teacher, I second that.

In that spirit, I am proud that President Obama and the National Park Service have launched the Every Kid in a Park and Find Your Parks initiatives.

Our national parks are celebrating their Centennial, and we want every family to experience America's natural treasures!

The Every Kid in a Park initiative is just one example of the tremendous success that can be found when public, private and non-profit partners, including the National Park Trust, work together to promote conservation and environmental stewardship.

I appreciate all that you do and I especially appreciate you recognizing the legacy of Bruce Vento with this award.

As we remember that legacy, we should also pay tribute to the people who selflessly supported Bruce over the years: Larry Romans, Rick Healy, Peter Gove, and, above all, Sue. I have been so fortunate to benefit from your advice and friendship, even before I was elected to Congress.

Thank you again for honoring me with the Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award and for being here tonight.

This publication is available online at http://mccollum.house.gov/press-release/mccollum-receives-bruce-f-vento-public-service-award


NPT to honor McCollum's 16 years of service with the 16th Vento Award in the
2016 Centennial Year of the National Park Service

News Rep. McCollum 113th CongressWashington, D.C. (November 23, 2015) – National Park Trust (NPT) is very pleased to announce that in 2016, the year of the Centennial of the National Park Service, Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum will receive the 16th Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award. The award will be presented to the Congresswoman at a June reception in Washington, D.C. Congresswoman McCollum is a member of the House Appropriations Committee where she serves as the ranking Democrat on the Interior-Environment Subcommittee and as a member of the Defense Subcommittee.

Currently serving her 8th term, Congresswoman McCollum has represented Minnesota's 4th District since 2001 when she filled the seat once occupied by Congressman Vento. Throughout her career, her top priorities have been the protection of our environment – including clean air and water and the preservation of our national natural treasures – for the benefit of current and future generations. She has consistently voted for and supported parks, public lands, full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and ocean conservation. A former high school teacher, the Congresswoman also is a strong advocate for excellence in education.

Congresswoman McCollum shared, "The work that Congressman Bruce Vento did to advocate for conservation and promote our nation's parks is a gift that continues to enrich our nation. Bruce Vento was also a science teacher, and I know he would be so appreciative of the work that the National Park Trust does to nurture an appreciation for the outdoors in our nation's young people. I am proud to carry on his good work and I am so grateful to be honored with this award bearing his name. We all know that there is more still to be done, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that our National Parks are preserved and protected for another 100 years."

"Bruce and I were privileged to be represented by Betty McCollum during her public service in the Minnesota House," stated Sue Vento, who serves on NPT's Leadership Council. "I know that Bruce would applaud her great work in the U.S. House and NPT for honoring such a deserving, hard-working and wise leader. Mr. Vento, as he was called by his junior high students, would give Representative McCollum an A+ for her extraordinary work on behalf of our treasured parks and environment as well as her work to expand opportunities for kids and their families to experience the great outdoors!"

According to NPT Board Chair Bill Brownell, "We are delighted to honor Congresswoman Betty McCollum's 16 years of service during the 2016 Centennial Year of the National Park Service. As a champion of our country's parks and treasured landscapes and a strong supporter of excellence in education, her passions and accomplishments closely align with the mission and vision of the National Park Trust."

NPT established the Vento Award in 2000 to honor the memory and legacy of Bruce F. Vento, a twelve-term Congressman from Minnesota, dedicated environmentalist and a champion of legislation for America's parks. The Award honors a public servant for his or her commitment to the environment, and his service, skill and innovation in support of our public lands. Past recipients include Senator Rob Portman (OH), Senator Ron Wyden (OR), Congressman Mike Simpson (ID), Senator Mark Udall (CO), Senator Susan Collins (ME), Senator Jeff Bingaman (NM), Senator John McCain (AZ), Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (CA), Congressman George Miller (CA), and Senator Harry Reid (NV). All proceeds from the event benefit NPT's park preservation and youth programs.

National Park Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. As people spend more time indoors and as successive generations grow up with less of a connection to nature, NPT is building a greater awareness and appreciation for the importance of our country's public lands and parks. More details about NPT's programs and this award can be found at www.parktrust.org.

Press Contact: Grace Lee, NPT Executive Director at grace@parktrust.org or 301-706-3407.

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