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Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve- Idaho

Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve
http://www.nps.gov/crmo

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Senior Program – Citizen Scientist
Junior Awards- Lunar Ranger and Junior Ranger

Completed: June 23-25, 2013

This is a park I have visited several times over the years, but never got to do much because on previous visits the temperature was 100 degrees plus. This year the weather was perfect; overcast and cool.
When I arrived at the Visitor Center I asked about the Junior Ranger program and was given a booklet titled Lunar Ranger. NASA astronauts have trained at Craters of the Moon. The booklet is well made, colorful and educational. It does a great job of bringing together volcanic features on Earth with volcanoes within the Solar System. Upon completion of the booklet the patch shown below was presented.

 

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To earn the standard Junior Ranger award I attended an early evening program. By attending the 45 minute program the badge shown below was earned. Initially attending the program in order to earn the award was myself and a delightful seven year old boy. The two rangers presenting were so engaging that by the end of the program the boy’s father and another couple, who were there to observe, joined us up on the stage and took the oath. The program centered on park ranger responsibilities, it was lively and informative. The oath was creative, ending with a promise to bring cookies to the rangers on our next visit.

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During our visit I learned that Craters of the Moon staff were offering an adult program titled Citizen Scientist. It was being piloted this summer. This was a great program, you are doing data collection on observations made of the flora and fauna in the park. There were seven different activities; you only had to complete three. I was shocked to see one of the activities was to record Pika sightings. Pikas at Craters of the Moon, remember it reaches 100 degrees there? A ranger explained that they come out occasionally, then go back into the cool lava tubes. I was fortunate to see one on an early morning walk along the paved nature trail near the campground. Another activity involved counting last year and this year’s pine cones on the trees. Short hikes, or longer, if you wish, are needed to complete the activities. Not observing something during the activity is also recorded. When finished you bring the booklet back to the Visitor Center. For this program the booklet is kept and the data entered into the site’s database to evaluate the impact if climate change in this park. They did offer to photocopy the completed booklet, I just asked for the cover to be copied, shown below. As a reward you are given the park hat pin, also shown below.

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So after three fun-filled days I was able to complete three programs: Junior Ranger, Lunar Ranger and Citizen Scientist.

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