Learning Through the Junior Ranger Program
Recently, we visited the Carl Sandburg House, where author and poet Carl Sandburg lived with his family during the last 20 years of his life. When he passed away, his wife Lilian wanted to preserve his legacy; his home became part of a national park. Now when visitors tour the home, kids (of all ages) can also join in the Junior Ranger program!
The Junior Ranger program encourages children and families to explore and learn more about the national parks they visit. At the Carl Sandburg home, each child receives a booklet with various questions and activities to do depending on his or her age. When the booklet is complete, the child takes it back to the front desk. Then he or she takes a pledge promising to help protect the national parks. The ranger then awards the child with a junior ranger certificate, badge, and sometimes a patch.
My ten-year-old completed his booklet and earned the prizes. I figured my older children were too old to participate. But it was then that we found out that the Junior Ranger program is for anyone, even adults! The park ranger told us that people of all ages visit the parks and earn the badges; many just like to see how many they can collect. How fun is that! I promised my son that when we go to another national park, I’d do the Junior Ranger program with him. 🙂
Want to be try out the program with your children? There are national parks all over the country! You can find a complete list of the parks here.
We have several national parks within an hour’s drive from our house.
What’s your favorite national park to explore?