Wildland Fire Management
Completed at Tonto National Monument
Junior Ranger – Senior Friendly
Completed: May 8, 2017
While visiting Tonto National Monument I was offered the Wildland Fire Management Junior Ranger booklet. With wildland fires continuing to be a predominant factor in many of the park environments, learning about the management of fires was interesting.
This program has six activities which was easy to complete while I was at Tonto National Monument. This is a Senior Friendly program as no age requirements are given. The activities include; matching, multiple choice, fill in the blank, unscramble and graphic representation of fire hazards. When visiting parks ask a ranger if they have this booklet and badge.
Photo credit: fs.usda.gov
Once I competed the booklet a staff member reviewed the booklet, gave the pledge and awarded me the unique badge.
In 2016 the Southern Arizona National Parks Office and Western National Parks Association created a statewide junior ranger program highlighting archeology throughout Arizona. The Oxford dictionary defines archeology as “the study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts and other physical remains“. Without a doubt the Arizona sites provide a wealth of experiences to explore the state’s rich archeological history.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument – Victoria Mine
Eighteen of the twenty-two NPS Arizona sites are included in this program. To earn the patch only four sites have to be visited. A site specific ‘rocker’ patch was initially available for all of the sites. By the time I finished it in 2018 several sites had run out of their patch. I was able to get 12 of the 18 ‘rocker’ patches. Every site I visited was friendly to this Senior.
Each site has two pages to complete, one to be done on site and another page that can be done before you arrive. To be honest I found some of these on site activities to be the hardest I have ever done. Matching the picture in the booklet with the items on display in the visitor center was a challenge. The mixture of photo identification with answering questions was a great way to learn about the site’s archeology.
Montezuma Castle National Monument
I never tire of visiting the many Arizona National Park Services sites. Having this statewide program focused on archeology provided a fun experience.
Explore Arizona and earn a patch! With twenty-two National Park Service sites scattered across the state this program provides a variety of experiences. Western National Parks Association along with the National Park Service Southern Arizona Office created a state-wide Junior Ranger program. All of the sites were welcoming of this Senior Ranger.
With only four site visits and 7 pages of activities you can earn the attractive patch, with a visit to any of the sites you can earn the small site-specific ‘rocker’ patch. I was determined to visit all of the sites and get all of the rockers! Over seven months I made it to all of the sites, but the final site, Grand Canyon – Parashant National Monument eluded me. We planned to visit the monument and complete the assignment, but the office staff in St. George, UT told us no rocker was made for this site.
Now, for the best part of this program – it is based on photography! At each site there is a specific Photo Challenge. Some of the challenges involved a hike, some were right at the park’s visitor center. Rather than detail the activities in the booklet, you can view them using the link above. Below are some of the Photo Challenges I completed.
Casa Grande National Monument – Hidden Room
Chiricahua National Monument – Volcanic Hoodoos
Grand Canyon National Park – Kaibab Formation
Montezuma Castle National Monument – Historic Diorama
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area – Lee’s Ferry Peach tree
Tonto National Monument – Salado Pottery
Coronado National Monument – International Border
This hike will also qualify for their ‘I Hike for Health’ pin
As time goes on some sites may not have the ‘rocker’ patch for their site, however the Photo Challenge and learning about the park will make this program timeless. Get Outside and Explore Arizona!
I actually completed this program in 2013 with my grandson, but misplaced the booklet and badge. I cherish the time I spent working on this with him, but wanted to have a replacement booklet and badge for this blog, so I worked on it while on my way to and from the Grand Canyon National Park this summer.
This park has ruins from 1300 CE when the Sinagua people inhabited the area. What makes these ruins unique is the ‘island’ of rock which the ruins are scattered along and many are accessible or at least easily seen from a one-mile trail which encircles the island. As this park sits at 7,000 feet and you have to walk down 185 vertical feet on stone stairs you need to carry water and be in good health. Not all of the ruins can be seen along the trail. The picture above shows some below the trail, these could be seen from a trail along the rim from the visitor center.
Three age groupings and their icon: Ages 7 and under – Horned Lizard, Ages 8 to 11 – Squirrel and Ages 12 and up – Raven. Each group is to complete the activities matching the icon showing on each page, with each group having three activities to complete.
Activities are; Trekking In and Out of the Canyon, Plant Hunter, Canyon Puzzler, A-MAZE-ing Trails, SENSE-ational Walnut Canyon, To Protect and Preserve, Park Rangers at Work, Where in the Canyon, Identify a Tree, Respect to Protect and Notes from the Edge. The last two activities are for all ages. The Raven activities are; Canyon Puzzler, To Protect and Preserve and Identify a Tree.
I always enjoy completing a crossword puzzle based on the park, much more than a word search. I always learn something from the clues. To Protect and Preserve was interesting, using a word bank, blanks are filled in to reconstruct the proclamation that established Walnut Canyon National Monument by President Woodrow Wilson in 1915. Wow, this site was established a year before the National Park Service was created from the Department of the Interior.
Identify a Tree is a great resource, besides helping me identify a Ponderosa Pine while visiting, it will help to identify other trees in the future. It uses a method of yes and no questions which create a key leading to six different trees found in this area, and throughout Arizona and the Southwest.
Ruin on rim
On the day I picked up the booklet a ceremony had just finished dedicating a plaque honoring Stephen Tyng Mather, considered the founder of the National Park Service. Not every site has a plaque, many were placed in the 1930s, again in the 1960s. The NPS Centennial in 2016 renewed interest in placing these plaques at more parks. Through private donations this plaque was installed on August 25, 2017. We missed the dedication, but enjoyed some cake. A few days later I returned with my booklet completed and received their beautiful wooden badge. This wooden badge is sturdier than other wooden badges I have received, probably not walnut, though.
A visit to Hubbell Trading Post NHS is a step back in time, a time when this trading post would have been bustling with locals, brought by horse to trade their goods for supplies. This site has been active since 1878, and still serves the local Navajos as a place to buy goods , as well as trade or sell their crafts. You can walk into the trading post, buy some of the traditional items, such as blue cornmeal, hand-woven rugs and exquisite jewelry, as well as modern snacks and drinks. There are not a lot of buildings open to visit, without being on a tour, but the grounds are relaxing to stroll through.
The visitor center is along the road into the site and has some interesting displays. I picked up the booklet from the ranger on duty. The downloadable booklet linked above is a different booklet, it has more activities with better graphics. Both booklets only require completing four activities and neither give an upper, or lower age.
I completed all four activities; Visitor Center Facts, Matching Terms, Cross Number Puzzle and Navajo Rug. As simple as this booklet seemed to be, I have to say finding some of the answers was challenging. It caused me to read the displays very carefully. I really enjoyed the Cross Number Puzzle, using only numbers to fill in the grids was unique. Coloring the Navajo rug was fun.
It probably took about an hour to complete the booklet I received. Having to complete only four activities, also in the new booklet will probably just take an hour, as well. The ranger reviewed my answers, helped me with a few of the questions , then gave me a standard Junior Ranger badge.
You won’t just find beautiful petrified wood as you explore this park, you’ll also find unique buildings, remnants of Route 66, as well as dinosaur bones. Hopefully, you can drive the entire park, south to north, or reverse. Plan to stop and explore along the way, there are great views and short hikes to enjoy.
On a prior visit I had picked up a Junior Ranger booklet and worked on it before returning for this visit. Since picking up the booklet a new, with very nice and colorful graphics, booklet was issued. As I had completed the required number of activities listed in the new booklet I was awarded the Junior Ranger badge.
This program is Senior Friendly as no upper age limit is given. The age groupings and requirements are; 6 years or younger complete at least 3 activities, ages 7 to 10 complete at 5 activities and ages 11 or older complete at least 7 activities.
The twelve activities are; Experience Your America, Wildlife Watch, Archeology, Petrified Forest Crossword, Trail Explorer, Animal Adaptations, How Old Are These Things?, When We Left Home, No Bones About It, Petrified Wood Detective, Even More Spectacular, and Jr. Ranger Field Notes. I always appreciate when there are more activities than required for the upper age group, so I can pick and choose.
A unique feature of this program are the icons that can be found on park signs that match activities in the booklet. This is a big help as you travel and stop at the many interesting places, it alerts you to find a matching activity. I hope other parks add this feature to link their Junior Ranger activities to park signs.
As usual I enjoyed Wildlife Watch, as I find being alert for the local animals and their signs keeps it interesting while you are in a park. It makes you focus on what is out there, not just the activities in the booklet. On this trip I only saw Ravens and Lizards, I hope on a future visit to see Pronghorns. No Bones About It was a great activity while visiting the Rainbow Forest Museum, at the south end of the park, and use the information displayed to answer the questions.
Petrified wood is the reason to visit this park and Petrified Wood Detective allows you to get up and personal with a piece of wood and record what it feels like and the colors in the wood. Of course, while visiting the park it is OK to touch the wood, but not to remove it. As you enter and exit the park a ranger will talk to you about leaving all petrified wood in place. But, while out hiking in the park, spend time looking and touching the wide variety of textures and colors.
While driving the tour route I finished the booklet and stopped at the Painted Desert Inn, a beautiful building constructed with petrified wood in the early 1920s. The murals painted inside the rooms are gorgeous and well worth stopping to see. The ranger on duty reviewed my booklet, gave me a copy of the new booklet, had me recite the oath and awarded me their attractive enhance badge. The badge is shiny and depicts a landscape with a rising sun with petrified wood in the foreground. So much to see, get out and explore!
I love this park! I think the remoteness and lack of developed tourist services keep it special. Camping has been free during our many visits. The campground is near the visitor center and has a variety of campsites, the bathroom has running water with flush toilets. Water is available, but no hook ups. Oh, and the ruins associated with this park are wonderful, too. We’ve hiked to two of the three main ruins.
No age groupings are given, nor any minimum activities to complete. The program is basic and can be completed during a brief visit, if that is all the time you have. Activities are; Your Choice (Video, Hike or Ranger-led hike), Pottery for Every Day, Word Find, Leave no Trace, and Design Your Own Cliff Dwelling.
I hiked the Sandal Trail, which is self-guiding and leaves from the back of the visitor center. This walks over slick rock and provides views of the Betakin Ruin. A daily ranger-led hike will take you down to the ruin. The Sandal Trail takes about a half hour and has interpretive signs along the way. Besides seeing paintbrush and penstemon blooming I heard the trill of a broad-tailed hummingbird.
Pottery for Every Day activity has you explore the museum for information about different types of pottery, then create your own design on a blank pot outline. The Word Search was more of a challenge than usual, many of the words were Native American, especially the Hopi words. A final activity allows you to Design Your Own Cliff Dwelling, I’m not sure I drew anything too creative.
The ranger on duty reviewed my booklet, issued the oath and gave me the standard Junior Ranger badge. This will not be my last visit to Navajo, I’ll be back to enjoy the flowers, sunsets and views!
Most of us know Glen Canyon National Recreation Area as Lake Powell, straddling Arizona and Utah. Over the years I have visited many the of sites within their 1.25 million acres, but this is the first time I worked on the Junior Ranger Program. It was a great way to understand the diversity of the park. Besides having lots of water, there are also locations which feature wildlife, history, paleontology and archaeology.
This program is considered Senior Friendly as there is no upper age limit. Three ages groupings with a minimum number of activities for each range is provided. The groupings are; ages 6 to 8 complete 3 activities, ages 9 to 11 complete 5 activities and ages 12 and up complete 7 activities.
Glen Canyon NRA activities include; The Best Way to Care for the Land, From Fast Swimming to Fossilized, Crossing the Mighty Colorado – in the 1800s, Crossing the Mighty Colorado – Today, Who Needs Water, Take an Artistic Break, The Amaze-ing Colorado River Watershed, One Glen Canyon, Many Voices, Desert Dwellers, Power and the River, Ancient Ones if Glen Canyon, Experience Your America! and Junior Ranger Participation Log.
In the middle of the booklet is the Junior Ranger Participation Log, something I have not seen very often in booklet, but a good idea to keep track of the different activities completed. My log included camping at Hite where we say Great Blue Herons roosting on the cliff across the river. Another activity was hiking through the Lees Ferry Historic District. I sketched the old boiler I saw for Take an Artistic Break activity. This is a great place to see birds and lizards.
Desert Spiny Lizard
One Glen Canyon, Many Voices has you match 9 pictures of people you could find within the recreation area; boaters, dam workers, Native Americans, ranchers and park rangers are a few examples. The 9 different Desert Dwellers, a bingo-style activity, presents different adaptations that plants and animals use to thrive in this environment. As you see something that matches that adaptation you are to draw that plant or animal. For Big Ears I saw a Black-tailed Jackrabbit and drew the ears, for Thermoregulation I saw several lizards and did a quick sketch of a lizard.
A number of the activities were simple enough that the the younger age groups will be able to easily complete their minimum requirement. Overall the booklet had a good diversity of activities to help you appreciate this very large park site. I took the completed booklet to the Carl Hayden Visitor Center at the Glen Canyon Dam to be reviewed. The day I was there the park staff was at training, so the tour staff for the dam gave me my Junior Ranger badge. No review or pledge, this time.
Almost in my backyard, at least in Arizona, but 475 miles northwest and in an entirely different ecosystem. The ecological diversity of Arizona is what I enjoy the most about living here. The distance might be a reason why this took so long for me to complete. I have visited this site numerous times over the years and always enjoy the wildlife seen while touring the grounds and Winsor Castle. The building was completed by Europeans settlers in the 1800s, but the land was home to the Kaibab Paiute tribe long before their arrival.
Note: I didn’t realize that I had previously completed this program and wrote a post last year. The 2016 Centennial Year was a busy year for me!
This program is Senior Friendly as no age groupings are provided and the staff just expect anyone to complete at least five activities during their visit This allows you to complete the booklet without attending the tour of Winsor Castle, in case your travel plans don’t match with tour times.
Plateau Fence Lizard
Activities include; Pipe Spring Scavenger Hunt (bingo format), Explore the Museum, Animal Tracks, Outside Tour, 1873 Supplies, Fort Tour, Match Present to Past, and Learning Paiute!
The Scavenger Hunt has 12 pictures of items, plants or animals you can see while exploring the monument. Lizards, ravens, and cottontail rabbits are plentiful in this environment and easy to mark off while exploring. I enjoyed the Explore the Museum because besides finding answers in the displays there were questions after each section which relate to your own experience. This allows you to think about the information and apply it based on your own experience. The displays also provide a good overview of the history; from the early Native American period through Mormon habitation and to today’s Paiutes living here.
With some careful observation I was able to find lizard tracks in the dirt alongside the paced path behind the Visitor Center. Again the Outside Tour had you find information, but also asked questions for you to think about and answer. Visiting the pens of livestock, especially seeing the longhorn cattle was fun. The Fort Tour was led by a ranger and was excellent. Besides getting inside Winsor Castle, the items on display give you a good idea of what it would have been to live here in the 1850s when the Mormon’s used this to supply themselves and others of their faith. Thanks to the springs there was readily available water, but this harsh environment on the Arizona Strip would have made daily life difficult.
Before the Europeans arrived in the 1800s the Kaibab Paiute tribe had lived here for centuries. I appreciated the page which had you try to learn Paiute words, eventually having you write your own phrase with the words provided. The monument is currently surrounded by Kaibab-Paiute tribal lands. The nearby campground is administered by the tribe.
Once I completed the booklet I was sworn in by the staff at the entrance desk and given their enhanced Junior Ranger Badge which features the Winsor Castle.
As a national monument, almost in my background, this is a site I have visited numerous times over the years. A very favorite campground, Bonito, is across the road from the visitor center. I have actually completed this Junior Ranger program twice, March 2013 and August 2014. The first time I completed with my two grandchildren and then on my own. And as I have stated before I learned and experienced something new.
This program is considered Senior Friendly as no age groupings are given, just the direction to complete five or more pages. There are six pages in the booklet. A nice feature of this program is you may turn in your completed packet at either the Sunset Crater Volcano or Wupatki visitor centers. There is a beautiful drive between the two sites which allows you to continue on your trip without returning to the visitor center.
The activities are; Monitoring Our Living Earth, The Great Earth Puzzle, A Place of Cultural Importance, Legend Has It, Excellent Eruptions, Lookin’ at the Lava, Making a Difference, A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words and Sunset Search.
The answers for the first several activities are found in the visitor center displays. A monitor shows current earthquake activity, on my two visits I located recent earthquakes in Alaska, California, and the Tonga Islands.
While walking along the Lava Flow Trail through the Bonito Lava Flow I was able to locate five of the seven features; Sunset Crater Volcano, San Francisco Mountain, Aa lava, Xenolith and a Squeeze-up.
One of my favorite activities when completing Junior Ranger programs is interviewing a park ranger. Ranger Robert told me he had a degree in Field Biology and his favorite place in the park is the O’Leary Trail because it provides a nice overview of the park. On my second visit in March 2014 I combined the last two activities into one by drawing Sunset Search finds.