Today marks the NPS’s 99th birthday and the beginning of a year of celebrations leading up to the centennial birthday. And oh how far we have come over the last 99 years!
Honestly, we are literally almost drowning in a sea of visitors here in Yellowstone this year. We’re breaking records all over – if you have visited, you aren’t imagining that it feels a little crowded. Throughout the month of July (2015), Yellowstone saw 980,702 visits. That’s huge. And while that can be a bit of a bummer if you’re looking for solitude in the Park, it’s also a clear indication that people are flocking to Yellowstone and ALL national parks. And that’s a beautiful thing! Pssttt – if you prefer to avoid the crowds, fall in Yellowstone is spectacular.
We’re also big here on getting families outdoors, and that starts with kids. Kids everywhere – not just privileged kids who are able to take a long road trip and see the wonders of our country. As an educator myself, I’ve seen the value in getting kids outside. I also know how crucial it is for an education including personal experiences with nature. You are only going to take care of what you connect with and know about.
National Park Trust recently learned that their youth programs were selected as a National Park Service Centennial Challenge Project in honor of the National Park Service Centennial Year, which begins today, August 25, 2015. The National Park Service selected National Park Trust (NPT) for a one-to-one match of $450,000 that will result in a total of $900,000 specifically designated for the expansion of their school programs (Buddy Bison Environmental Education Program and Kids to Parks Day National School Contest). As we approach the new school year, NPT is asking for our help to raise resources for the Buddy Bison School Program.
I can’t encourage you enough to set aside even $5 this month to help educate our youth and bring them to our Parks. They are the future.
And one more thing: The National Park Service Centennial Year coincides with President Obama’s Every Kid in a Park Initiative, which will allow every 4th grader in the U.S., and their families to have a park experience during the 2015-16 school year. Be sure to not miss this opportunity if you have a child in 4th grade!
I was invited by National Park Trust to participate in their Centennial Challenge Campaign, however the views expressed are my own.
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