Junior Arizona Archeologist – 18 Arizona NPS sites

Navajo National Monument Archaeology
Navajo National Monument – Betatakin Ruin

Junior Arizona Archeologists
18 Arizona NPS sites

https://www.nps.gov/cagr/learn/kidsyouth/upload/Junior-AZ-Arch-2016-as-published.pdf

Junior Ranger – Senior Friendly

Completed: October 18, 2018

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 NM - Archaeology
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 NM Archaeology
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.

Vicksburg National Military Park – Mississippi

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Vicksburg National Military Park
Mississippi

https://www.nps.gov/vick/index.htm

Completed: January 3, 2019

Senior Friendly

During most of January 2019 a majority of National Park Service sites were closed due to an extended government shut down. We had traveled from Big Bend National Park (SW Texas) to Central Kentucky during this time to visit Camp Nelson National Monument. This site was the newest site for the NPS and commemorated our 400th visit to a NPS site. As a new site it was still being managed by the local government. On our way back home we learned that the City of Vicksburg was providing funds to keep Vicksburg NMP open. Walking into the Visitor Center and seeing rangers in uniform, on duty, was appreciated. Other NPS sites, across the country, were kept ‘open’, but without professional staff which lead to vandalism and unsanitary conditions in the parks.

Back to my visit to complete this Junior Ranger program. This program is considered Senior Friendly as no age groups are specified and everyone needs to only complete five activities to receive the badge. Even on this cold, rainy day completing five activities was easy to complete and gave me a good understanding of the importance of this battle during the US Civil War.

As an aside, I have heard about the Battle of Vicksburg all of my life. My great-grandfather fought and was wounded in this battle for the Union, as part of the Kentucky Infantry. He lived with my father when my father was a young boy. Several stories about Vicksburg were handed down and retold over the years. While touring the park I was able to visit the unique memorial, a tribute to both the Union and Confederate from Kentucky. Compared to the other memorials this memorial was erected recently, in 2001, a short walk from the Tour Road. An interesting fact I learned is that Abraham Lincoln and Robert E Lee were both born in Kentucky.

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Besides driving the Tour Road I completed the following activities; Visitor Center Questions, United States in:1861, Artillery Unscramble, Who Were They?, and Medicinal Plants. There are 15 different activities, many which would be enjoyable to complete on a warmer and drier day. The activity I enjoyed the most was “Who Were They?”. I was able to use the details of my great-grandfather’s enlistment to complete their enlistment form. I had received a copy of his enlistment at Camp Nelson National Monument.

The rangers on duty were enthusiastic reviewing this Senior Ranger’s booklet. Upon finishing the review I was sworn in as a Junior Ranger and received their enhanced badge depicting a cannon.

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Instagram: @Srjrranger

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park – Massachusetts

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park
Massachusetts

https://www.nps.gov/nebe/index.htm

Junior Ranger – Senior Friendly

Completed: July 21, 2018

Junior Ranger Park Voyage

While visiting New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park in July of 2018 for the annual conference of the National Park Travelers Club (parkstamps.org) I completed a fun junior ranger activity. Instead of the standard junior ranger booklet I was offered a one page activity. This park is spread out over many city blocks in the charming, seaside town of New Bedford.


Mural of Frederick Douglass, a resident in the late 1830s

The page had five spaces for stickers from locations around town. This was basically a walking tour of the town. Even though it was July, and could have been hot and humid, it was a delightful 75 degrees.

The sites I visited were;

New Bedford Art Museum – it was open and free. An exhibit featured John Audubon’s work with an emphasis on his time spent in the area.

New Bedford Whaling Museum – an impressive museum which charges an admission. Our meeting was held at the museum and we were given free admission. If you visit this site plan on spending a couple of hours.

New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center – a small storefront with a nice display of fishing related materials, including different buoys. No admission is charged, about 1/2 hour is sufficient to tour the center,

Seamen’s Bethel – a public building which continues to serve as a chapel was built in 1830. During the day while I was in the area a christening and later a wedding was held here. A beautiful garden alongside the chapel was an enjoyable place to enjoy the wonderful weather.

Visitor Center – once I had visited all of the other sites I returned with my sheet to earn the Junior Ranger stamp for the park and their standard Junior Ranger badge. I really enjoyed this activity, simple to complete, but an enjoyable tour of this historic area.

Junior Ranger booklet
https://www.nps.gov/nebe/learn/kidsyouth/upload/New-Bedford-JR-Book-Web-2016.pdf

Cape Cod National Seashore – Massachusetts


Salt Pond

Cape Cod National Seashore
Massachusetts

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

Completed: July 23, 2018

Cape Cod National Seashore is a mixture of national parklands mixed with private land, stretched out along a spit of land that stretches out into the Atlantic Ocean. Driving along the spit there are several visitor centers, as well as beaches and plenty of places to eat and stay.


Activities are divided into two age categories identified with animal icons at the top of each page; Grey seal icon for ages 5 to 7 and Humpback whale for ages 8 to 12. To become a Junior Ranger you are to complete at least five age-related activities, visit one cultural site and attend a ranger-guided activity. If you are not able to attend a ranger program ask for handout titled “Junior Ranger Alternative Activities”.

Even with limited time to work on this I was able to complete more than the minimum number of activities. The activities I completed;
Visit Cultural Site – Highland Light, a lighthouse that has a date of 1857 on the chimney, and is surrounded by a golf course.

Scavenger Hunt – I saw quite a few of the items depicted.

Exploring the Seashore – great graphics of plants and animals of which the words for these items are hidden within a word search.

Lifesaving Crossword – I appreciated the content provided on the first page with a lot of information about shipwreck lifesaving due to the frequent storms in the area. Instead of clues the bold words are matched with the first letter in the crossword grid.

Native Detective – an easy graphic match of animals to their tracks.

Get the Word Out! – design a poster about an important issue unique to Cape Cod NS. My posted depicted a pristine beach scene with a title “What’s Missing?”. The subtitles are; No Pets on the Beach, No Trash and No One on the Sand dunes.

What’s the Weather? – it was a gorgeous July day as we explored the area, partly cloudy and 75 degrees with a light breeze is what I recorded.

Staying in Touch – I wrote a note to my grandchildren comparing and contrasting this beach to a beach where they often visit along the west coast.

History Detective – An easy 3 multiple-choice questions based on archaeology.

Cranberry Harvest – six pictures showing the steps to cranberry harvest are scrambled for you to number in the correct order starting with what happens in January.

Crack the Code – Cape Cod NS was the site of the first message to be transmitted across the Atlantic Ocean to England in 1903. Morse Code was used by Marconi to send the message. A simple message is given to decipher with the provided Morse Code, a fun activity.

Marconi exhibit at park headquarters

I had picked up the booklet as we entered the area at the Salt Pond Visitor Center and worked on it on our drive out to Province Lands Visitor Center. The booklet was reviewed by a volunteer and the enhanced wooden badge was presented.

Fort Stanwix National Monument – New York


Fort Stanwix National Monument
New York

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

Completed: July 20, 2018

Fort Stanwix is a re-creation of a fort which was the center of activity in the Mohawk Valley, upper central New York, around the Revolutionary War. A variety of people called this area home; Six Nation Confederacy (local Native Americans) and multiple European immigrants. The history is complex, but very well interpreted inside the visitor center and outside on the fort grounds.

The booklet indicates you are to complete the same number of pages as your age. With 13 activities this Senior ranger tried to do all 13. The ranger on duty was forgiving and allowed me to skip a couple of activities, we were on a tight travel schedule.

Activities included;
What’s Your Story? – 3 questions you answer based on one of four people you select who lived in the Mohawk Valley during the Revolutionary War. The questions explored the individuals and your opinion about the conflicts of the time, I selected Bear Clan Mother.

Using A Map – create your own map based on the many maps in the visitor center, plus label a map provided with at least four of 11 locations provided. My map focused on the Finger Lakes area.

What Do You See? – a quick draw of four items found in the visitor center based on something; a child would use and an adult would use in the past, a child and adult would use today.

Yours or Theirs? – two pages of items based on travel and transportation, clothing, weaponry and cooking that you select if the item would be used during the Revolutionary War.

Building Fort Stanwix – using wooden blocks provided to build a fort, then a sketch of it.

Who Am I? – 6 questions to identify people displayed on a wall titled; “Who’s Who on the New York Frontier”. I found this the most difficult task in the booklet, the information was there, but it took a lot of reading to match it to the details.

What’s Up With Waysides? – a walk outside and along the fort trail had you write down three things you learned from the wayside exhibits, plus a space to design tour own wayside. My wayside featured the Natural Environment that would have been present in 1777.


I Am So Wore Out With Fatigue! – a choice to attend a ranger program (if available) or watch the film shown in one of the fort rooms, then answer questions.

Where Are Your Rations? – a quick nine-square Tic-Tac-Toe of items found in the fort rooms.

Imagine Yourself When… Write or draw about how you would have spent a day around the fort. I wrote about candle-making, as a means to earn money to feed the family while the woman’s soldier was away.

What Do You Stand For? – Lots of flags have flown over Fort Stanwix, with a space to create your own flag.

Defended to the Last Extremity – a diagram of the defenses of the fort to be labeled.

Let’s Make A Deal – a quick maze based on trading goods at the fort.

Additional Activities – Traveling Bingo, Make Your Own Ink!, and Crossword Puzzle.

It was a busy day when I visited, but I was able to complete the activities in a little over an hour. I appreciated the time Ranger Scott spent with me reviewing my booklet and discussing some of the complexities of the history at Fort Stanwix National Monument.

Online booklet!
https://www.nps.gov/fost/learn/kidsyouth/upload/NPS_FOST_JRBooklet_11-12-Web.pdf

Minidoka National Historic Site – Idaho

Minidoka National Historic Site
Idaho

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

Completed: June 13,2018

This stop along our route was a re-visit to this site. It was good to see that there is now a visitor center, interpretive signs, ballpark and other buildings in progress of being restored. The ranger on duty was a wealth of information, providing excellent information about this historic site. I always find it difficult to visit the sites within the National Park Service which interpret dark times in our history, but I appreciate the honesty which the information is presented. The site is small and the Junior Ranger booklet can be completed easily during a short visit.

The program is not Senior Friendly as the oldest age listed is 12, however the ranger on duty readily provided the booklet to this Senior. Of the 11 activities in the booklet, 6 are to be completed by these 6-9 years old and 8 of the activities by those 10-12 years old.


The eleven activities are;
Minidoka Word Search – 15 words related to this site.
What Would You Take? – with only five days notice and just able to bring suitcases this activity had you list what you would bring, how much could you fit in one suitcase and what you would have to leave behind. This was difficult and eye-opening.
Connect the Centers – Matching the 10 Relocation Centers with the states scattered in 7 Western states,
Minidoka Journal – writing about a day of life in the camp. I wrote about the heat and wind and a brother playing baseball.
Haiku – Bright blue skies
Thinking of grey skies
And going home soon
Fill-in-the-Blank – 7 words are given to complete sentences which provide background about relocation camps.
Finding Your Way Home – a quick maze based on when the Japanese-Americans began returning home in 1945.
Color By Number – coloring the logo for this site, the entry gate.
Ask A Ranger – I learned that most of the internees at Minidoka came from the Pacific NW.
Was It There? – deciding if typical buildings in a city were present at Minidoka; such as post office, library, gas station, schools, theatre, and churches were present.
Cryptogram – using a key, words are decoded that describe where the internees cane from, where they were assigned and other details related to this time in history.

Prior to leaving the site the ranger presented me with the enhanced wooden Junior Ranger badge. This site is near other park sites, as well as Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge which is well worth a visit while in the area.

Historic Preservation – NPS nationwide


Historic Preservation
NPS Nationwide

https://www.nps.gov/articles/hispresjuniorrranger.htm

Completed: September 11, 2017
At: Casa Grande Ruins National Monument

Senior Friendly

https://www.nps.gov/articles/upload/NHPAJrRangerBook.pdf

The Historic Preservation Junior Ranger Activity Book (NHPA50) was released in 2016 to celebrate the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The booklet was available at numerous National Park Service locations at that time, and still available online, as well as at some sites. What is historic preservation? Start back in 1776 and think of the many natural and cultural resources that you will find within the boundaries of 417 National Park Services units. Some of the resources featured in the book are; Mount Vernon, Mesa Verde, Independence Hall, Dry Tortugas, USS Arizona Memorial, Denali, Ellis Island, Canyon de Chelly, and Brown v. Board.

This is considered Senior Friendly as there is no upper age limit. Ages 7-9 are to complete 4 activities, ages 10 – 12 are to complete 7 activities, and ages 13 and up are to complete 10 activities of the 11 activities in the booklet.

Dry Tortugas National Park – Fort Jefferson
The booklet can be completed without visiting any of the units highlighted in the booklet. Each page has information which can be used for the activity. The activities included; Portrait, Word Search, Timeline; Maze, Match, Poem, Letter, Connect, Unscramble, Fill in the Blanks and Crossword, Historic Person Match, Into the Future, and Code Unscramble.

A timeline heads each page beginning in 1776, leading to Present Day. Along the way the activities vary from word search, to maze, to writing a poem. Besides individual units famous people are included, such as; President Theodore Roosevelt, Carter G Woodson and Lady Bird Johnson. The activities, units and people highlighted, and terms important to preservation help you understand the importance of Historic Preservation.

San Juan Islands Natuonal Historical Park – English Camp
I had picked up the booklet in 2016, but was busy with traveling during the park’s centennial year. I finally finished the booklet in 2017 and turned in the completed booklet at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. I received the enhanced badge celebrating 50 years of Historic Preservation. As of today, April 6, 2018, the booklet is still available online, however the badge may not still be available, check at parks along your travels.

Russell Cave National Monument – Alabama


Russell Cave National Monument
Alabama

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

Completed: September 30, 2017

Senior Friendly

Tucked up against a corner of Alabama and Tennessee is this cave which holds artifacts dating back 9,500 years. The short walk to the cave/overhang is along a boardwalk through the woods. I was fortunate to be the only person on the boardwalk, I was able to experience the woods along the route and the cave opening in silence.

It was a gorgeous Fall day when I visited Russell Cave and was glad I could spend the extra time to complete their Junior Ranger program. The booklet is well organized and easy to complete based on three age groups.

Raccoon for ages 5-7, to complete 2 pages,
Deer for ages 8-10, to complete the Ranger Basics page and 7 or more pages, and
Coyote for ages 11 and up, to complete the Ranger Basics page and 8 or more pages.
This activity is considered Senior Friendly as there is no upper age given.


The twelve activities include; Ranger Basics, The Story of Russell Cave National Monument, At the Movies, Russell Cave Geology, Russell Cave Museum, Prehistoric Puzzle, Russell Cave Word Search, The Cave, Bird Watching, Tools and Weapons, Flora and Fauna of Russell Cave and Parts of a Tree.

A portion of the booklet can be completed by viewing the displays in the museum, working on your own and by visiting the cave. I enjoyed The Cave section the most, it provided good background about the initial excavation in the 1950s. Additionally the activity does a great job of taking you through the four major periods the cave was occupied; Paleo-Indians, Archaic, Woodland and Mississippian Periods.

After spending time in the museum, walking to the cave and while eating lunch in front of the visitor center I worked on the Word Search, as well as the nature pages; Bird Watching, Flora and Fauna and Parts of the Tree. I appreciated that the Word Search went beyond just finding the words, they are used to complete sentences about this park unit.

The ranger on duty when I returned to the visitor center with my completed Junior Ranger booklet was delightful. Ranger Mary reviewed my booklet and we discussed several topics before she presented me with their attractive certificate and unique enhanced metal badge. This was my second visit, but the most enjoyable because of the what I learned and the time I spent working on their Junior Ranger program.

Cabrillo National Monument – California

Cabrillo National Monument
California

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

Completed: December 8, 2018

Across from downtown San Diego, up on a hill, sits Cabrillo National Monument which interprets the early exploration of the New World. It also provides information about the native Kumeyaay people who were living there when Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed into the bay in 1542. There is a lot of history in a small area with spectacular views, all around. A visit to Cabrillo National Monument is worth the scenery, alone!
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo statue

The activities for this Junior Ranger program are printed as a four-page newspaper titled, “Just for Kids”. The age-related chart below ends at Grade 8 which keeps this from receiving the Senior Friendly label, however this senior was able to complete the program. The ranger giving me the paper and the ranger who reviewed my completed paper were both encouraging and had no problem with an ‘older’ junior ranger participating.

Lighthouse stairs
The eight activity sections are titled; Inside the Visitor Center and Auditorium, The Exhibit Room, The Patio and Statute, Old Point Loma Lighthouse, Assistant Keeper’s Quarters, Kelp Forest and Whale Overlook, Coastal Sage Scrub:Native Plants, and Military History Exhibit. It was a beautiful day to explore outside the visitor center. I thoroughly enjoyed taking a tour around the grounds to find the information needed to complete the program.

The view from the Kelp Forest and Whale Overlook was gorgeous. I was a few weeks too early to see the whales migrating south, past Cabrillo. The interpretative signs throughout the grounds give great information about early explorers, native Americans, local botany and military history. Plan on taking your time as you wander from place to place to complete the activities.

Once completed I returned to the visitor center to have my answers checked by the ranger on duty. I appreciated the time spent reviewing and discussing my answers. The certificate for completing the program is on the back of the newspaper with a space for your signature and the park’s dated passport stamp. The badge given is an enhanced wooden badge showing a Spanish ship.

Aztec Ruins National Monument – New Mexico


Aztec Ruins National Monument
New Mexico

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

Completed: October 9, 2017

Not So Junior Ranger/Senior Ranger

Tucked behind the Animas River, near downtown Aztec, the ruins take you back in time, back 900 years! The Pueblo Great House had 400 rooms, many you can walk through on the self-guiding tour. This is a great walking tour, I had to crouch down to get through several doorways. The large kiva, spiritual center, has been restored so that you can walk down into the center. The overall area is small, but what you can experience is big!

Aztec Ruins offers a number of Junior Ranger programs for different age groups and this senior ranger program. And even better, you can earn a patch at home! Following the link below you can complete the activities online to earn their patch.
https://www.nps.gov/features/azru/

The ‘booklet’ for the Not So Junior Ranger is a four-fold flyer with seven panels to complete. The only downside of the flyer is the slick paper, difficult on which to write or draw. The panels headings are; In the Museum; Artisans and Descendants, On the Trail; Keep it Standing and Roots on the Landscape, Get Involves, In the Visitor Center:Historic Trivia and Heritage Adventure around the World.

The activities are a nice blend of visitor center information, exploring the ruins and expressing your opinion or thoughts. Sometimes it took some detective work to find the information which made the hunt fun. Matching pottery images to the type of pottery was the easiest, with finding the viga (beam) labeled H48 in the visitor center the most challenging.

When asked what was the best part of my experience at Aztec Ruins National Monument I wrote about watching a Dark-eyed Junco bird fly in and out of an opening in the ruins. Seeing an animal, which may have been present when the ruins were occupied, brought the ruins alive for me.

It was a busy day, over the Columbus Day weekend, but the ranger on duty spent time reviewing and discussing my completed pamphlet. Having a senior option available is greatly appreciated, and the slightly larger wooden Not So Junior badge is a nice reward.