What We Do: About the Buddy Bison School Program

National Park Trust, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit established the Buddy Bison School Program (BBSP) in 2009 to provide environmental education to elementary and middle schools in under-served communities. We work closely with teachers to plan each trip — using parks, public lands and waterways as outdoor classrooms.

Centered around our lovable woolly mascot, Buddy Bison™ our programs help kids develop that special bond with nature. As Buddy Bison says, “explore outdoors, the parks are yours!” Depending on the level of funding for each school and the number of trips approved by each school district, we provide two or more park experiences where students will learn from park rangers, naturalists, outdoor recreation experts and other outdoor education professionals. Classroom visits by wildlife experts, rangers and naturalists are also provided. We bring kids to parks – and parks to kids!

The goals of all of our park experiences whether they are in the park or in the classroom are: 1) education – we align and enhance classroom lessons in STEM, history, social studies as well as other disciplines, 2) health and wellness through outdoor recreation, and 3) park stewardship – we foster current and future caretakers of our parks and the environment.

As a park-focused non-profit environmental education program, we fully fund and plan trips including all logistics for our 81 sponsored Title I schools which span 20 states and Washington, D.C. More than 80% of our students qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch, the federal indicator of low-income. A sample trip itinerary can be viewed here.

While they do not receive support from NPT, we have learned of numerous schools that do not have Title I status who also use our free online resources to engage their students with the great outdoors.

To learn more about our school program or how you can support a school in your community contact, Billy Schrack, director of youth programs at william@parktrust.org or call 301-279-7275 ext. 20.

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NPT provides learning experiences in local, state, and national parks and public lands.


The 2019-2020 school year marks our 11th year of park programming.


NPT serves a growing number of schools across the country.


The Buddy Bison School Program serves 6,000 students annually.


Who We Serve: Our Buddy Bison Schools

The Buddy Bison school program currently benefits children in 81 Title I  schools across the country (grades pre-K through 8th) by enhancing existing school curricula with an 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 —through school visits from our many conservation partners.

Below is an interactive map representing our current Buddy Bison Schools (green). This map also includes the schools that we support through our Kids to Parks Day National School Contest (Blue). If you are interested in supporting a school in your community, please contact Billy Schrack.

Buddy Bison School Program

2019 Kids to Parks Day National School Contest Winners

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Buddy Bison Schools




California Los Angeles Clifford Math and Technology Magnet
Novato Hamilton Elementary School
Vallejo Anne Pennycook Elementary School
Oakland Hoover Elementary School
Sanger Wilson Elementary School
South Lake Tahoe Lake Tahoe Environmental Science Magnet
Sunnyvale Vargas Elementary School
Delaware Wilmington Great Oaks Charter School
Georgia Atlanta M. Agnes Jones Elementary School
Mableton Bryant Elementary School
Marietta Hollydale Elementary School
Marietta Fair Oaks Elementary School
Illinois Chicago Charles G. Hammond Elementary School
Chicago Jose De Diego Community Academy
Chicago The Chicago Academy
Metropolis Metropolis Elementary School
Indiana South Central South Central Elementary School
Kansas Wichita Buckner Elementary School
Louisiana Chalmette Chalmette Elementary School
New Orleans Kipp East Community Primary School
Minnesota St. Paul Bruce Vento Elementary School
Maryland Baltimore St. Ignatius Loyola Academy
Baltimore Mount Washington Elementary School
Baltimore Wolfe Street Academy
Baltimore MLK Elementary School
Baltimore Frederick Elementary School
Baltimore Commodore John Rodgers School
Baltimore Harford Heights Elementary School
Baltimore James McHenry Elementary School
Baltimore Mary E. Rodman Elementary School
Riverdale Park Beacon Heights Elementary School
Silver Spring Harmony Hills Elementary School
Hyattsville Cesar Chavez Elementary School
Gaithersburg South Lake Elementary School
Gaithersburg Gaithersburg Elementary School
Gaithersburg Washington Grove Elementary School
Massachusetts Boston Adams Elementary School
Boston Donald Mckay Elementary School
Mississippi Biloxi Popp’s Ferry Elementary School
Missouri St. Louis Ashland Elementary School
St. Louis Mullanphy ILC Elementary School
North Kansas City SAGE Center
Montana Billings Crow Agency Public School
Nevada Laughlin Bennett Elementary School
Las Vegas Howard Hollingsworth Elementary School
Las Vegas Walter V Long Elementary School
New Jersey Atlantic City Richmond Avenue School
Newark KIPP JJ: SPARK Academy
Newark Fairmount Elementary School
New York Brooklyn Brooklyn Jesuit Prep
Brooklyn PS 119
North Carolina Durham Emily K Center
Durham EK Powe Elementary School
Hendersonville Dana Elementary School
Pennsylvania Chester Chester Community Charter School
Chester Walnut Street Elementary School
Philadelphia Solomon Solis-Cohen
Philadelphia Lab School 59th Street Campus
Texas Beaumont Ehrhart Elementary School
Virginia Alexandria Jefferson Houston Elementary School
Arlington Dr. Charles R. Drew Elementary School
Washington, D.C. Washington DC St. Francis Xavier
Washington DC EL Haynes Public Charter School
Washington DC Elise Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School
Washington DC Patterson Elementary School
Washington DC Neval Thomas Elementary School
Washington DC Children’s Guild Charter School
Washington DC KIPP DC: WILL Academy
Washington DC Friendship Public Charter School
Washington DC Howard University Middle School
Washington DC Kimball Elementary School
Washington DC Sunshine Early Learning Center
Washington DC Washington Jesuit Academy
Washington DC Barbara Chambers Children’s Center
Washington DC Seaton Elementary School
Washington DC West Education Campus
Washington DC Washington School for Girls
Washington DC Ida B Wells Midde School
Washington DC Stuart-Hobson Middle School
Preserving Parks Today; Creating Park Stewards for Tomorrow