WASHINGTON, April 20 /PRNewswire/ --
NE Quadrant of the Washington Monument Grounds -National Mall
15th and Constitution Avenue, NW
Thursday, April 22, 2010
10 a.m. – noon
More than 600 D.C. and Baltimore area school children will celebrate this year's 40th anniversary of Earth Day by grabbing a buddy and heading to the National Mall. The buddy in question: the National Park Trust's Buddy Bison™, a wooly toy mascot, who's been helping the students learn more about the environment and the importance of America's national parks, all through an innovative program called Where's Buddy Bison Been? ®
The Buddy Bison™ program was launched by the nonprofit National Park Trust in September of last year with the goal of encouraging students to enjoy and protect our nation's greatest treasure – our local, state and national parks.
The children, from kindergarten through 7th grade, will gather on the National Mall for a 10 a.m. – noon program that jointly celebrates the 40th anniversary of Earth Day as well as National Park Week, April 17 – 25, 2010. The event is designed to engage kids in environmental stewardship, promote outdoor activities and health and celebrate the National Parks. There will be games, songs, living classroom exhibits, visits from mounted US Park Police Officers on horseback, interactive activities and special guests, including Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, and a life-size Buddy Bison™. Each child in attendance will be sporting a pint-size wooly Buddy Bison™, who will share in the morning's activities.
"We're so lucky to have one of the nation's most magnificent national parks – the National Mall – right in our own backyard. And there's no better way to encourage a new generation of conservationists than by bringing our local Buddy Bison™ students to the mall to celebrate Earth Day," says Grace Lee, Executive Director of the National Park Trust. "Whether you live in the nation's capital or in small town America, our message is: Grab a Buddy Bison™, visit a park and share your experience."
"You couldn't ask for a better role model than Buddy Bison™," says Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. "He's always on the move, visiting national parks and helping to protect our nation's Treasured Landscapes. And because of his example, we have students across the country who really value America's great national, state and local parks."
National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis says: "Buddy Bison does a great job of getting children excited about exploring their national parks. Life long memories are made in national parks and I want every family to experience the joy and bonding that comes from spending time together in parks.
From Texas to New York to Los Angeles to the nation's capital, Buddy Bison™ is everywhere. The Where's Buddy Bison Been? ® program is currently being used in 19 schools across the country with more joining every day. Curriculum materials include an educator tool kit with curriculum ideas, park maps, resource guides and activity sheets, which allows teachers to fold the Buddy Bison program into their existing academic programming. Students are encouraged to take Buddy on the road and document their adventures. To date, the wooly bison toy has been to hundreds of parks here and abroad, from the neighborhood park, to Yellowstone, to the Great Wall of China. The gallivanting Buddy keeps his legions of followers up to date on his Facebook page, through Twitter and on his Google map. For more information about Buddy Bison, log onto www.parktrust.org.
Local schools participating in the Earth Day event include: E.L. Haynes Public Charter School, Washington, D.C.; National Presbyterian School, Washington, D.C.; Capital City Public Charter School, Washington, D.C.; The Bullis School, Potomac, Md.; KIPP DC: Promise Academy, Washington, D.C.; Elsie W. Stokes Community Charter School, Washington, D.C.; Beauvoir National Cathedral Elementary School, Washington, D.C.; Washington Latin Public Charter School, Washington, D.C.; St. Ignatius Loyola Academy, Baltimore, Md.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK TRUST
National Park Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of our nation's critical parklands and reconnecting our youth to nature. As people spend more time indoors and as successive generations grow up with less of a connection to nature, NPT wants to build greater awareness and appreciation for the importance of our country's public lands and parks. To achieve this, NPT seeks to champion the acquisition and preservation of critical national, state and local parklands and to build a greater awareness through education – focusing on our youth, especially those that are underserved.
SOURCE National Park Trust