I'm always pleased when a nonprofit comes up with an innovative marketing campaign to raise awareness and funds. Our recession-weary wallets have been opening less and less for charities according to recent repots, and that has forced nonprofit organizations to come up with more creative ways to get people's attention.

The National Parks Trust (NPT), the organization that leads the preservation and expansion of the U.S. national parks system, is aiming to get kids more excited about getting outside with the help of a pretty darn cute stuffed Bison named Buddy. You can get a Buddy for $25, which helps to fund environmental education projects, and users are invited to submit photos with their companion online.

The Where's Buddy Bison Been campaign coincides with the premiere of Ken Burn's documentary on PBS called The National Parks, which explores the origins of what, at the time, was a bold idea -- to set aside and preserve wilderness for future generations.

NPT chair Diana Taylor explains the intention of the campaign and the importance of environmental education:

Our hope is that Buddy can be used as a tool to inspire creativity and innovation in reconnecting children with our nation’s parks. Kids will want to show where they and Buddy Bison have been at local, state and national parks—together with Buddy Bison, they will be motivated to climb mountains, find beautiful natural locations, and protect the parks and the environment with their family and friends.
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