Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument – Washington

Completed: June 30, 2014

Junior Ranger

This was a return visit to a place I have visited several times in the past, but the first time to complete the Junior Ranger booklet. What also made this visit unique was the perfect weather; clear skies, very little wind and a comfortable temperature. On previous visits the crater has not been completely visible, nor could you see Spirit Lake. The flowers along the way were vibrant.

Royal Beardtongue

Spirit Lake

The booklet list two age groups; 6-9 yrs and 9-12 yrs, however they allow those over the age of 12 to complete the program. I also saw them give out a two-sided paper for kids younger than 6.
In order to receive the certificate and badge you need to attend a Ranger program and complete the booklet. Symbols of a tree for the younger kids and a a volcano for the older kids indicate which activities to complete. The booklet contains a total of seven activities in total.

Windy Ridge

Throughout the day programs are provided. I attended the one about the eruption of Mount St. Helens held outside. Ranger Jim provided a very dynamic talk about the events leading up to the eruption on May 18, 1980. He held the interested of a large, diverse group for 30 minutes while we stood outside the visitor center. His information was interesting and presented to keep everyone engaged. What I remember most was the lack of sophisticated equipment that the geologists had to work with as they were monitoring the volcano before it erupted. They were creating their own crude devices to measure the movement of the mountain.

The information needed to complete the activities can be found on interpretive displays inside and outside the Johnston Ridge Observatory. Between attending a half hour ranger program and completing the booklet the total time would be close to one and one-half hours.

I learned quite a bit completing the booklet. The activity I enjoyed the most was the last page titled “What I Think About Mount St. Helens . . .” Seven statements are provided for you to respond; the coolest thing I saw was . . ., Something new I experienced . . . Each one has you reflect on your experience while visiting this unique monument.

Booklet and badge


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