Every Kid in a Park – Youth Blog Series, Post #7
Interview with Sarah H., Buddy Bison Student Ambassador
Meet Sarah H., a twelve year old from New Jersey in middle school. Although she did not receive an Every Kid in a Park pass during her 4th grade year, she is a huge advocate for getting kids her age outdoors and into parks. She serves as a Buddy Bison Student Ambassador through the National Park Trust and was kind enough to talk about her experience as a young leader.
What is your name, age, and where are you from?
Sarah: My name is Sarah H. I’m 12, and I live in Vineland, New Jersey.
What is your role with the National Park Trust?
Sarah: I am a Buddy Bison Student Ambassador. As a student ambassador, I try and get kids and their families to explore outdoors at parks and other natural areas. I post pictures on my Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages, @jrrangersarah. When I visit parks, I talk to the rangers and tell them about Buddy Bison and the National Park Trust. I also write articles for Buddy Bison’s Buzz. I have been working on volunteer projects at different parks, too. In the summer I went to Valley Forge National Historical Park and helped with the Crayfish Corps. I got to help take invasive crayfish out of a stream in the park. I also got to volunteer with a group called the Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and its Tributaries. I helped them collect dragonfly larvae for one of their projects. I also led a hike on the nature trail at Wheaton Arts in Millville, New Jersey.
What do you love about the outdoors?
Sarah: I love the outdoors because you can explore and there’s always something new to see. I also like learning about plants, animals, and other things outdoors.
What is one of your favorite parks you’ve visited and why? What activities did you participate in and who did you go with?
Sarah: Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is one of my favorite parks. Last year I got to participate in the Centennial Celebration for the National Park Service. I got to take a tour with one of the park rangers and I visited different parts of the park, like the LIberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the Second Bank of the U.S. I really love historical parks like Independence National Historical Park. I love getting to see where our country started. And, you can really walk in the footsteps of our founding fathers. I really like that this is a national park in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a city. Instead of dirt roads with horses going across, its now paved roads with cars going across. My family comes with me on my trips to parks.
What is your happiest memory in the outdoors?
Sarah: I have so many happy memories in the outdoors! I love spending time with my family outdoors. My grandfather, M.G., goes to a lot of parks with me. He takes me to a lot of the same parks that he took my mom to when she was younger.
What do you love the most about being a Buddy Bison Student Ambassador?
Sarah: As a Buddy Bison Student Ambassador, you get to explore, and you always have someone to talk to about parks and nature. I really liked being able to plan the very first Kids to Parks Day for my hometown of Vineland, New Jersey.
Can you explain one of your biggest accomplishments as an ambassador?
Sarah: In May, 2017, I planned the very first Kids to Parks Day for my hometown of Vineland, New Jersey. I went to meetings for the Vineland Environmental Commission, and they helped me choose a park for the event, and they also helped me with planning the event. I also got a proclamation from the mayor of Vineland for Kids to Parks Day. I planned lots of activities for the day, such as Litter Pickup Hikes, an A to Z hike, and lots more. I also had crafts and an Art in the Park activity for kids and their families.
Why do you think it’s important for kids and families to spend time outdoors?
Sarah: 1: It’s healthy for you.
2: It’s fun.
3: Just because it’s awesome!
Have you heard about the Every Kid in a Park program? If so, were you able to participate? (Why or why not?)
Sarah: Yes, I have heard about the program. I did not participate, because when I was in 4th grade I had not heard about the program yet. I have a younger sister, and she’s excited to get her Every Kid in a Park pass when she’s in 4th grade.
Do you think this program is important to continue for future generations?
Sarah: Yes, because it gives more kids the chance to get outdoors to parks. There are so many great places out there to explore!
Is there anything you’d like to say to the people who run the program?
Sarah: It would be nice if they had Every Kids in a Park passes for more grades.
What advice would you give to other students who are perhaps visiting a national park for the first time or receiving their Every Kid in a Park pass?
Sarah: Do what you love, and don’t stop! Visit as many parks as you can, talk to the park rangers, and complete the junior ranger badge books. You will learn a lot and have so much fun, too!
Lastly, what do you want to be when you grow up? Is it related to the outdoors?
Sarah: When I’m older, I’m going to be a mayor, governor, congresswoman, and the first female president of the United States. I was thinking that when I’m president, I will appoint Junior Ranger Tigran, who is also a Buddy Bison Student ambassador, to be the director of the National Park Service.