Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument – Arizona

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Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
Arizona

http://www.nps.gov/index/sucr

Senior Friendly

Completed: August 1, 2014

Online:
https://www.nps.gov/sucr/planyourvisit/upload/SUCR%20JR%20Workbook3.pdf

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.

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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.
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Pipe Spring National Monument – Arizona

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Pipe Spring National Monument
Arizona

http://www.nps.gov/pisp/index.htm

Completed: May 18, 2016

Senior Friendly

Download: https://www.nps.gov/pisp/learn/kidsyouth/upload/Junior-Ranger2016-web.docx

Pipe Spring National Monument is in the Arizona Strip, a northern section of the state that looks dry; this site is an oasis. The building, Winsor Castle, was built by early ranchers on land that the Paiute Indians called home for at least 1000 years. The visitor center and living history displays on the grounds tells the whole story from ancient times to the late 1800s. It is a great place to explore.

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This program gets the Senior Friendly rating as no age limits is given. I printed the booklet before I left home and was able to complete several of the activities before I arrived. Once there I spent additional time in the visitor center and attended a ranger program to complete this program. There is no requirement to attend a ranger program, however the information I learned helped me in completing the booklet.

The activities include; Pipe Spring Scavenger Hunt, Explore the Museum, Animal Tracks at Pipe Spring National Monument, Pipe Spring Outside, Wagonload Supplies, Fort Tour, Match Past to Present, and Paiute Language.

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All of the activities gave me a better understanding of the history of this site, and of the natural environment of this area, including changes in water resources. The tour of the house with the period contents gives you a good idea what life was like in the 1800s.

Once I completed all of the activities my booklet was reviewed by staff at the front desk. I appreciated their review and discussion we had to clarify some of my answers. After reciting the Junior Ranger Pledge and stamping my booklet with their passport and NPS Centennial stamp I received an enhanced badge. The badge depicts an outline of Winsor Castle.

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Arizona Trail National Scenic Trail – BLM

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North Kaiba Trail – Grand Canyon National Park
http://www.aztrail.org/juniorexplorer

Completed: January 19, 2016

Senior Friendly

The Arizona Trail almost runs through my backyard in Tucson, about 10 miles to the east. I have hiked short sections throughout Arizona; the whole trail is over 800 miles and reaches from Mexico to Utah. Hikers, bicyclists and horseback riders are able to cover the entire distance either as a through-trip (taking a long time) or done in sections.
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The trail passes through private and public land; public lands managed by state and federal agencies. Some of the federal agencies are; Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, and Department of Interior. An important resource to enjoy the trail is the Arizona Trail Organization which can be reached at http://www.aztrail.org.

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This program has a a very attractive handbook with excellent graphics and detailed information about what you would see along the 800 mile route. I was fortunate to find this booklet at the REI store in Tucson, however the entire handbook can be completed online. The BLM (Bureau of Land Management) provided this Junior Explorer program. It is considered Senior Friendly as no age range is given. With the information provided in the reading the material in this booklet is advanced. With adult help younger children could answer the questions and earn the patch.
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Another unique part of this program is your answers are submitted online. Once you complete the handbook and submit the answers an attractive patch is mailed to you. I was surprised when my patch arrived within a week. I celebrated by hiking a 3-1/2 mile section, Marsh Station Road to Colossal Cave Mountain Park.
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But before I earned my patch I had to complete the booklet. The trail for this activity begins at the southern border, the border with Mexico and works north. The page titles are; Arizona-Sonora Borderlands, Following Water: from top to bottom, The Sky Islands, Biotic Communities: along the Arizona Trail, The Gila River, Tracking Felines: on the Arizona Trail, Mogollon Rim, Cream-Filled Cookie:Plate Tectonics, San Francisco Peaks, Anatomy: of a Volcano, The Grand Canyon, Build Your Own Trail:along the Arizona Trail, The Arizona Strip, Create A Sound Map:along the Arizona Trail, Share The Trail: with other trail users!, and More Places: to Play and Learn.

Not all of your answers will be submitted online, some drawing activities are included, as well as a demonstration of Plate Tectonics which you can eat after you are done! There are a couple of charts to complete and time spent listening outside to create a sound map. Only the online answers count towards earning the patch. I found answering all of the required questions nefoe I went online worked much better than The great part about this program is you can complete anywhere, without ever setting foot along the trail. I think if you did do this program without experiencing the trail itself, you would make it a priority to visit Arizona and enjoy some portion of the trail in the future.
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A Junior Explorer Oath on the back of the handbook provides a certificate for you to complete. And as mentioned before, your attractive patch will arrive shortly just by submitting your answers online.
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Tuzigoot National Monument – Arizona

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Tuzigoot National Monument
Arizona

http://www.nos.gov/tuzi

Completed: October 8, 2015

Online: http://www.nps.gov/tuzi/learn/kids

Senior Friendly

A small, but interesting site in Central Arizona highlighting ruins from almost 1,000 years ago. As part of the Verde Valley you cross the Verde River, year-round flow, as you approach this area. The surrounding views are spectacular.

This Junior Ranger Activity Guide is considered Senior Friendly as there are three age groups; turtle symbol for 6-7 years old, sycamore leaf symbol for 8-9 years old, and macaw symbol for 10 years or older.

The activities include; Excavating Your Life, Museum Scavenger Hunt, How many pots can you find?, Then and Now, Searching for Clues, Prehistoric Style, Understanding the Clues, Pueblo Trail, A View from on Top, Tavasci Marsh Trail, Poetry Corner and Share with a Park Ranger…

I had picked up the booklet on a previous visit and was intrigued by the page titled “How many pots can you find?”. The visitor center contains museum-style cabinets full of pots. Counting them took concentration, as I would notice another one hiding under a shelf after moving on. My final count was 52, a number the staff told me was one of several numbers considered an acceptable answer. The discrepancies could be related to what is a pot? Once the count was complete you draw your favorite pot, mine was a corrugated jar, the coils had not been smoothed over creating a nice texture.

Understanding the Clues allows you to study a real archeology report, on the previous page, then use clues to determine the answers. It was helpful to see the diversity of the pottery styles and to appreciate how the differences help you determine the age of a piece of pottery. It reminded me of Antiques Roadshow when they look at an item and can tell the owner when it was made.

Ruins
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Walking the Pueblo Trail, a hilltop covered in ruins, was beautiful on this October day. Besides enjoying the ruins the surrounding views are stunning. Tuzigoot is set in the Verde Valley, near the Verde River, hilltop mining town of Jerome and within view of the red rocks of Sedona. Sections of ruins were built over time, some as long as 900 years ago.

Staff
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After walking through the museum and then the ruins I was able to complete the activity guide. After a staff member reviewed the booklet I received the badge. I purchased the patch from the bookstore. The inside back cover of the activity guide contains the Certificate of Achievement.

Booklet, badge, certificate and patch
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Montezuma Castle National Monument – Arizona

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Montezuma Castle National Monument
Arizona

http://www.nps.gov/moca

Completed: October 7, 2015

Senior Friendly

Online booklet
http://www.nps.gov/moca/learn/kidsyouth/upload/MOCA-6-Up-Web.pdf

Montezuma Castle National Monument includes two locations; the ruins, known as the castle, and a well, a few miles north. The castle is actually a set of ruins built by the Sinagua around 1400 CE (current era), it contained 45-50 rooms. This site was the first place to be named a National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. The well has ruins built into the walls of a sinkhole and a walking trail that connects to the year-round Beaver Creek. Over the years Montezuma Well has always been a favorite place to visit. It is not as popular as Montezuma Castle, but well worth a visit.

This Junior Ranger Activity Guide includes pages for both the castle and the well. It is considered Senior Friendly as there are three age groups; turtle symbol for 6-7 years old, sycamore leaf symbol for 8-9 years old, and macaw symbol for 10 years or older.

This booklet allows you to complete activities towards becoming a Junior Ranger at Montezuma Castle or Montezuma Well or both sites. The age symbols indicate which activities each group should complete. The activities include; Explore the Museum, Where would you build?, Getting Around, Knowing your Neighbors, Living at theWell, That’s a lot of water!, Nowhere Else on Earth, Surface Water: Swallet, Outlet, & Ditch, Sit, Look & Listen, Poetry Corner, and Share with a Park Ranger. . .
Montezuma Well
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The museum at the Visitor Center had the answers for the crossword puzzle titled Explore the Museum. I learned about the different Native American tribes that called this area home. I appreciated the information provided about using current terminology to identify timekeeping by archeologists. CE, Common Era, is now used in place of A.D. and BCE, Before Common Era, in place of B.C.

Math skills were needed to complete the Getting Around page, this activity had you calculate how long it would take you to walk to Phoenix from the Verde Valley. Based on my calculations it would take me at least 12 days to walk the 125 miles.

Once at Montezuma Well the activity Living at the Well has you collect dates at the different kinds of homes lived in over the years, then calculate how old is the oldest house at the well, almost 1000 years. Nowhere Else on Earth has you identify the unique plants and animals, in this case very small specimens.

For the Poetry Corner I wrote a cinquain-style poem about the well.
Well
Deep, Living
Breathe, Evaporate, Cool
Relaxing place to be
Sinkhole
Booklet & badges
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Before leaving the Montezuma Well I had the ranger on site review what I had done, he then presented me with a colorful button as their Junior Ranger badge. Back at Montezuma Castle the booklet was reviewed and the standard badge was presented. The inside back cover of the activity guide contains the Certificate of Achievement.
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Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim – Arizona

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Grand Canyon National Park – South Rim
Arizona

http://www.nps.gov/grca

Completed: August 27, 2015

Senior Friendly

Having completed the North Rim and Phantom Ranch Junior Ranger programs I was looking forward to completing the one for the South Rim. Two days were planned for our visit this trip so there would be time for me to complete this program. Even at this late date in August the campground was full,both nights, and the shuttle busses were often standing room only. The weather was perfect; overcast and 70* the first day, then clear and 80* the second day. Much better than the 100 plus degrees we left behind in Tucson.

This program is Senior Friendly, the oldest age grouping is listed as Ages 11 and up. The picture on the back of the booklet promotes all ages, highlighting a family, completing the program.

Back of booklet
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The three age groups are;
Raven ages 4-7
Coyote ages 8-10
Scorpion ages 11 and up
The patch you cam buy in the bookstore, after completing the program, is specific to your age group. This is nice, especially for the younger children. Over a period of years they could earn 3 patches, the free badge stays the same.

All ages have to attend one ranger program and complete 4 activities that match your age level or 3 age-related activities and do a litter or recycle pick up. The ranger program I attended was titled “Geology Glimpses” and was conducted outside the Yavapai Geology Museum, right on the rim of the canyon!

Ranger Program at Yavapai Point
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The activities I completed in the book were titled; Warming Up Your Senses, The Dynamic Canyon, Wildlife Detectives, Cinquain Lane,and Life on the Edge. I also did a few of the other activities. As a Senior I feel like I should do a few more than the minimum required.

All of the activities were enjoyable and as usual, I learned something new about the canyon. Life on the Edge has you complete a story about an ancestral Puebloan family that lived here 800 years ago. The words given to fill in the blanks helped to realize what their life would have been like at that time, very different from mine! A cinquain poem is easy to write and helps me to focus on the environment, I wrote mine about hiking at the canyon. Wildlife Detectives has you record information about wildlife you saw and evidence of wildlife, that you may not have seen. Right in the campground, near our camping site was this group of elk – amazing!
Elk
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After the ranger at the main visitor center reviewed my booklet she completed the certificate included in the booklet and gave me the badge. Across the plaza, at the bookstore, after showing the certificate I purchased the colorful Scorpion patch.

Booklet, badge & patch
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Saguaro National Park – Arizona; Not-So-Junior Ranger

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Saguaro National Park
Tucson, AZ

http://www.nps.gov/sagu

Senior
Not-So-Junior Ranger – Desert Explorations For All Ages

Completed: November 6, 2014image

This new Senior Friendly program was developed over the summer of 2014. It is designed to be completed by individual adults, groups or families. The activities can be completed at one of the two units of the park or both units. Saguaro National Park has two units, Tucson Mountain Unit on the west side and Rincon Mountain Unit on the east side of Tucson.

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To complete this program seven of the ten activities are to be done. In addition points are assigned to the individual activities. No minimum number of points are required, however when you finish, the park staff total the points and write them in their records and on your certificate.

The booklet is well designed with great pictures and on durable paper to hold up as you complete the program. Activities include ; Safety First, Take the Pledge. . ., Saguaros By The Numbers, In One Saguaro’s Lifetime. . ., Your Day, Your Park, Your Adventure (optional), Scout Out A Visitor Center, Travel an Accessible Trail, Healthy Parks, Healthy People: Pick-A-Trail (optional), File Your Hike Report and Be A Citizen Scientist (optional).

Saguaro By The Numbers is a numbers challenge, 12 fill-in-the-blank statements about saguaros, numerical answers are printed randomly all over the page for you to use. You will need to use the park brochure and handouts available at each visitor center. A few answers are obvious, but for most of them you’ll need to use the resources.

Scout Out A Visitor Center has questions about either of the centers, points are given for correct answers. You only need to complete questions for one center, however if you answer for both your total points will add to the overall score. Answers to questions are not necessarily readily available from printed resources or in the visitor centers. A ranger told us you are expected to ask staff, rangers or volunteers, for answers to some of these questions. In other words, don’t look all over, as we did, it is OK to ask.

Two activities, one required and one optional, involve a hike. The required hike for Travel an Accessible Trail is a paved trail, one at either unit, or both. The trails are 1/2 mile and 1/4 mile, so even doable on a hot day – carry water and wear a hat. The optional page lists several hikes at each unit, points are given for distance and calories expended. The trail distance range from 0.5 mile to 18 miles, round trip. Any of the hikes from these two pages can be used for File Your Hike Report. The report involves writing up your Observations and Impressions.

To complete this program, with a minimum of activities and points, it can be done in a couple of hours and by visiting only one of the units. To maximize the experience and points, a full day or more of exploring Saguaro National Park would provide enough time.
When you complete the booklet park staff will review and total your points. When we did it time was spent reviewing incorrect answers, which helped to learn more about the park. A certificate, separate from the booklet, is completed and presented. The badge is similar to a Junior Ranger badge, but slightly larger. I included both in the photograph below for comparison.

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However much time you spend or how detailed you complete the program, spending any time in the desert among the Saguaros is treasured time – Enjoy!