Samantha Brown joins Nature Valley’s Preserve The Parks initiative

Samantha Brown wants to Preserve the Parks!Popular television personality and travel expert Samantha Brown has joined forces with Nature Valley in an effort raise awareness of their wonderful National Parks Project. This program, now in its second year, works to raise funds for the National Parks Conservation Association, an organization dedicated to ensuring that America’s national parks are protected for future generations to enjoy as well.

This year, Nature Valley will donate at least $400,000 to the NPCA with the potential of up to an additional $100,000 coming through a consumer outreach program at PreserveTheParks.com. Customers are encouraged to visit that website and enter UPC codes from specially marked packages of Nature Valley products. For each UPC code entered, the company will add another 10¢ to their already generous donation.

Brown, who is a big proponent of the national parks, is the latest celebrity to publicly support Nature Valley’s efforts. She has called the parks “some of the world’s greatest treasures,” and has lauded them for being fantastic travel destinations that don’t require visitors to journey to some far flung, exotic place to experience their beauty.

For those planing on visiting a park this summer, Brown has some good tips to consider before they go. She recommends calling the park, or visiting its website, ahead of time to get information on any activities and educational programs that they have to offer and adjusting your scheduling accordingly to take advantage of them. She also says that when visiting a park, be sure to dress appropriately by leaving the flip-flops behind and donning a good pair of hiking shoes. Tossing a spare jacket into your daypack is always a good idea as well, as the weather can change quickly in the backcountry.Samantha also notes that the parks are especially great destinations for young travelers, offering up experiences and memories that will stay with them for a lifetime. For families traveling with small children she suggests creating fun quizzes about what they see and do in the park during their visit. Those quizzes not only reinforce the experience, but they also helps to pass the time in the car on the way home as well.

Brown says adventure travelers will find plenty to love in the parks as well. She points out that they are a great place to challenge yourself physically with many of the parks offering fantastic opportunities for paddlers and backpackers. Those who want to take it a bit easier can hike shorter trails or rent a bike to experience the park at their own pace. Either way, they are great destinations for anyone looking to get outside, take in some fresh air, and enjoy a little physical activity this summer.

Find out more about the Preserve the Parks project at the official website, where you’ll also discover ways that you can get involved in helping to protect the parks. Nature Valley is also giving away a trip to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Park, which you can sign up to win as well.

Nature Valley kicks off 2011 Preserve the Parks campaign

Nature Valley begins the 2011 Preserve the Parks CampaignAs we’ve mentioned on several occasions recently, Saturday kicked off National Parks Week here in the U.S. To help celebrate, Nature Valley, in conjunction with the National Parks Conservation Association, launched their 2011 Preserve the Parks campaign in the beautiful desert near Joshua Tree in California.

Nature Valley started the campaign last year after their customers expressed how much they loved the national parks. In 2010, the Preserve the Parks program raised $400,000 for the NPCA, with those funds going directly to protect national parks from a variety of threats. The 2011 edition of Preserve the Parks hopes to raise even more money, while also taking a more direct, active role in the preservation of these fantastic natural spaces.

This year, Preserve the Parks has a charismatic and charming spokesman to help spread the word about the campaign. Josh Holloway, who played Sawyer on the television show Lost, is an avid outdoorsman who also happens to love America’s national parks. He was on hand for the kickoff event this past weekend to not only help get the festivities underway, but to also get a little dirty too. Holloway joined a host of volunteers who went to work building trails and helping to protect the habitat of desert tortoises that inhabit the region around Joshua Tree.I had the opportunity to chat with Josh on several occasions throughout the day and came away quite impressed. This isn’t the case of a celebrity spokesperson slapping their name on a project and paying lip service to it. Josh truly does have a love for the outdoors and was eager to lend a hand in the actual physical work of the day. For most of the morning he had a shovel, rake, or other tool in his hand, and was doing his part alongside the rest of the volunteers who were there to take part in a restoration project.

Nature Valley beings 2011 Preserve the Parks campaignDespite the warm weather (temperatures approached 95 degrees Fahrenheit) the Nature Valley event drew an impressive turnout from volunteers. After a brief orientation about the area, including instructions on how to avoid stepping on a tortoise den, we were off on a mile long hike to the various work sites. Once there, we broke into teams that took on a variety of projects that included clearing trails of plants and other debris to more clearly define where to walk, as well as restructuring part of the landscape to allow water to flow naturally, without causing undue erosion. These simple efforts can go a long way toward protecting the area and ensuring that those who visit it can pass through without endangering the creatures that live there.

Nature Valley has a number of other similar events planned for the summer ahead, when the program will really kick into high gear. Those events will take place in Yellowstone, Acadia, Biscayne and several other national parks. Details on those events has yet to be completed, but you can watch the Preserve the Parks website for details on when they’ll be occurring and how you might be able to join in.

National Parks Week is a time that is dedicated to celebrating the spectacular natural beauty that exists inside America’s wilderness wonderlands. It is also a great time to acknowledge some of the threats that face the parks, such as environmental concerns, land management issues, lack of funding, and more. Organizations like Nature Valley and the NPCA recognize the importance of the parks on American culture and are working hard to protect them for future generations to enjoy as well. Programs such as the Preserve the Parks campaign are a perfect model of how businesses, non-profits, and grassroots activists can all work together to improve and protect the parks.

Nature Valley launches Preserve the Parks campaign
This trip was payed for by Nature Valley, but the ideas and opinions expressed here are my own.