Rocky Mountain National Park
Completed: September 19, 2015
Booklet Online: http://www.nps.gov/romo/learn/kids
A number of park sites have their Junior Ranger booklet available online. I prefer to get the printed copy at the park, however sometimes I feel as a Senior completing the Junior Ranger booklets I should provide the copy myself. Knowing that we would be going through Rocky Mountain along our trip, I checked and found their booklet was available online, so I printed off the entire booklet. This was very helpful for this park site as I arrived in the area on a Friday and learned that campsites would be full all weekend. I ended up camping near Fort Collins and had to drive through the park the next day.
The program is divided into two age groups; younger than 12 and you complete 8 activities and for those 12 or older are to complete 10 of the 11 activities. As there is no upper age limit this program is considered Senior Friendly. I found many of the activities to be very well done and helpful to appreciate this very special park.
The activities included; Ranger Tips, Trail Ridge Road Map, Wildlife Watch, Food Web Connections, Animal Signs Treasure Hunt, Tree Finders, Ranger Programs, Weather Worlds, Alpine Tundra Adaptations, You Are A Junior Ranger!, plus 4 Ecosystem activities. The ecosystem pages were filled with excellent information specific to the four systems; Montane, Subalpine, Alpine Tundra and Riparian.
For several activities I was able to complete before I arrived at the park. Along the way I had picked up the park brochure which was helpful. Once in the park I was able to complete the other activities and enjoyed a perfect late Summer, almost Fall, day! The Tree Finder activity was very helpful to place the big trees based on where they are found in the park at different elevations. The crossword puzzle focused on weather, something that this park experiences routinely and at times dramatically.
A focus of this program was understanding the four major ecosystems found within the park, as mentioned earlier. This information was useful to complete the Trail Ridge Road Map activity. Traveling from the east side of the park to the west side you experience all of the different ecosystems. When we arrived at the Alpine Visitor Center, at 11,796 feet, I had a ranger check my booklet. She signed the certificate and had me recite the Junior Ranger pledge in front of the window, overlooking the meadow below. This was a special moment for me, several years ago I saw 3 twenty-something young men recite the pledge at this same place. It was then that I decided I would start doing Junior Ranger programs, and so I have!
This is 100th anniversary of Rocky Mountain National Park. Besides having a special,passport stamp at the visitor centers they also have a special sticker for the Junior Ranger program which they add to the certificate on the back of the booklet.