National Park Foundation Announces Junior Ranger Essay Winners

July 7, 2009

WASHINGTON, July 7 /PRNewswire/ — The National Park Foundation is proud to announce winners of the 2009 Junior Ranger Essay Contest. The winners are: First Place – Skyler Baldwin of California; Second Place – Jason Roy Maki of Washington State; and Third Place – Caroline Bollinger of Virginia. The third annual year of the essay contest asked kids aged 9 to 12: “Why are our national parks important to you and what is your best idea to protect our parks for the future?”

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“Kids have an excitement about the national parks that we can all take a lesson from,” said Vin Cipolla, Vice Chair of the National Park Foundation. “Young people who are given the chance to explore and spend time in national parks have unique passion about the parks and the environment. This essay contest is about giving them a microphone to tell their stories, and also empowering them to become stewards by giving them a chance to direct grants to the parks of their choice.”

Miss Baldwin received a $1000 Visa gift card and the opportunity to direct a $5,000 contribution from the National Park Foundation to his or her favorite national park. She chose Yosemite National Park. The contribution will be used to help put into action big ideas like those included in the winning essay.

The other prizes are as follows:

Jason Maki, Second Prize: $500 Visa Gift Card and an America The Beautiful Pass; $2,000 to Grand Teton National Park

Caroline Bollinger, Third Prize: $250 Visa Gift Card and an America The Beautiful Pass; $1,000 to Great Falls Park

Kelsey Fosstveit and Tom Goodwin, Honorable Mention: America The Beautiful Pass

An excerpt from fifth grader Miss Baldwin’s First Place essay follows:

“I have some great ideas to protect our Parks for the future. First, national parks should tap into the youth culture using celebrities…I think national parks should get Ryan Seacrest to announce National Park Day and inform the audience…about the beauty of national parks and remind them to help parks by donating money or volunteering with repairing or cleaning trails or even just by visiting them. …Another great idea is to make a national parks video game. The subjects could be: that you have to save the endangered animals; or, make it around a map of national parks that have obstacles, like a herd of elk, bears, a stream, waterfall, a Ranger, and beat other people’s times.”

All winning essays will be featured in the 2009 Junior Ranger Gazette, published by the contest sponsor, Unilever.

All of the winning essays are available at: www.nationalparks.org/essaycontest.

More than 400 essays were submitted from March 16, 2009 and May 1, 2009 by kids living from Connecticut to Florida, Nebraska to Hawaii, and everywhere in between. Classrooms at elementary schools in several states — from California to Pennsylvania — incorporated the essay contest into their curricula; 75% of entries came through NPF’s online portal, while the remainder were sent via mail.

The 2009 National Park Foundation Junior Ranger Essay Contest is sponsored by Unilever, Proud Partner of America’s National Parks, as part of the its ongoing commitment to the National Park Junior Ranger program.

About the National Park Foundation The National Park Foundation is an independent charitable organization chartered by Congress in 1967 to strengthen the connection between the American people and their national parks. As the official national non-profit partner of America’s National Parks, the Foundation raises private funds, makes strategic grants, creates innovative partnerships and increases public awareness about the need and opportunity for park philanthropy. In its 2008 fiscal year, the National Park Foundation distributed grants and program support of $27.3M. To learn more, visit www.nationalparks.org.

About Unilever Unilever’s mission is to add vitality to life. We meet everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and personal care with brands that help people feel good, look good and get more out of life. Each day, around the world, consumers make 160 million decisions to purchase Unilever products. In the United States, the portfolio includes major brand icons such as: Axe, “all,” Ben & Jerry’s, Bertolli, Breyers, Caress, Country Crock, Degree, Dove personal care products, Hellmann’s, Klondike, Knorr, Lipton, Popsicle, Promise, Q-Tips, Skippy, Slim-Fast, Snuggle, Suave, Sunsilk and Vaseline. All of the preceding brand names are registered trademarks of the Unilever Group of Companies. Dedicated to serving consumers and the communities where we live, work and play, Unilever employs more than 14,000 people in both the United States and Puerto Rico — generating nearly $11 billion in sales in 2007. For more information, visit www.unileverusa.com.

    Mark Shields (mshields@nationalparks.org)
    National Park Foundation
    (202) 354-6480

SOURCE National Park Foundation

Source: newswire

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