Centennial Junior Ranger Activity Book, 1916 – 2016

National Park Service

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

Completed: April 8, 2016

2016 was a big travel year for me, by the end of the year I was fortunate to have visited 220 of the 413 National Park Service sites. With the NPS celebrating their Centennial, 100 years, we wanted to celebrate with them. Most I had visited previously, several were first time visits, and every visit brought a special memory. I was thrilled when I learned that a special Junior Ranger Activity Book was available. Looking back at the booklet I completed activities at a number of parks, finally finishing it at El Malpais National Monument in New Mexico.

The thirteen activities include; National Park Service Symbols, Jammin’ Journal, Become a Modern Day John Muir!, Draw & Name Your Park, Past and Present Native Cultures, Write a Cinquain Poem, National Park Crossword, My Space – Your Space, Write Yourself into National Park Service History, Healthy Parks, Healthy You, Rappin’ with a Ranger, The President is Calling You, and Protecting Special Places.

The inside front cover was not an activity, but asked a couple of questions about birthdays and the centennial. One of the questions was to identify how a park you visited was celebrating the centennial. Five of the parks in southeastern Arizona offered a “I Hike for Health” pins during this year. I was able to earn all five pins, including one at Coronado National Memorial by hiking to the US/Mexico border at the beginning of the Arizona National Scenic Trail.

Coronado National Memorial -Arizona

Instead of recounting the activities I will share some memories and pictures from my travels during 2016. Living in Arizona we have access to some wonderful desert parks which we could enjoy during the winter months. Organ Pipe Cactus NM, Joshua Tree NP and Death Valley NP are sites we have visited many times over the years, and the flowers in 2016 were gorgeous.

Organ Pipe Cactus NM – Arizona

Joshua Tree NP -California

Death Valley NP – California

In Colorado there is a wide variety of park sites, from Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP and Great Sand Dunes NP. Both unique and beautiful at any time of the day.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP – Colorado

Great Sand Dunes NP – Colorado


Working back East we spent time at Alley Spring & Mill in Ozark National Scenic Riverway, a built area with gushing water and historic buildings. Of course the one of highlights was attending our annual National Park Travelers Club (NPTC) meeting in Philadelphia at Independence National Historical Park, especially seeing the Liberty Bell. While touring Washington DC I visited the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality NM where many legislative victories were pursued within sight of the US Capitol, the architecture was stunning.

Alley Spring & Mill – Ozark National Scenic Riverway – Missour

Independence National Historical Park – Pennsylvania


Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality NM – Washington, DC


Working our way West came back through Northern New Mexico and celebrated with Capulin Volcano NM -their window was one of many special events and signs we saw throughout the year. As active members of the NPTC we collect the NPS passport stamps that the sites offer, in 2016 the sites had a special stamp for the Centennial. It definitely made the year extra special as we criss-crossed the country visiting the parks and working on the special Junior Ranger booklet. The good news is you did not have to travel as we did, the booklet could be done at home or at one site to earn the wooden Junior Ranger badge. For those who did not know about this program during the centennial year, it may still be available. Check with any NPS site or online.

https://www.nps.gov/kids/pdf/centennial-jrrangerbooklet.pdf

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Fort Union National Monument – New Mexico

Fort Union National Monument
New Mexico

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

Completed: July 20, 2017

Senior Friendly

Download: https://www.nps.gov/foun/learn/kidsyouth/upload/FOUNJr-RangerBooklet-2.pdf

Located in Northern New Mexico, just off I-25 the ruins of this fort transport you back in time. The walking tour of the grounds allow you to get a good feel of what it might have felt like to be here in the 1800s. Wear your walking shoes and Get Outside! As a place I have visited numerous times over the years I found this visit to be the most enjoyable because of what I learned and experienced completing their Junior Ranger program.

This Junior Ranger program is Senior Friendly as there is no upper age range. The age groupings and required number of activities to complete are;

The activities are; Only A Few Have This Sort of View, Fort Union Timeline, Fort Scavenger Hunt, What Is It?, ?Como Se Dice?, The Santa Fe Trail, Trail Listeners, Weather Wonders, Compass Connection and In Your Own Words. The first activity, Only A Few Have This View, shows the diversity of this stark landscape which includes mountains, a volcanic field, and earthworks.

Walking the fort grounds and answering the questions took some time and detective work, it also makes you realize this was like a small city. What I found amazing was the elevation marker was so accurate, it was recorded in 1867. What Is It was a fun activity using macro photos with a short description, then scrambled letters for you to unscramble to get the answer. Plus they leave a square for you to create and draw your own item, I attempted to draw a meadowlark (klraaodwem).

All of the activities were enjoyable and meaningful. While walking around the fort I enjoyed watching, and then talking to a Restoration Worker who was working on one of the many walls that they have to restore and maintain. He told me about some of the materials they use for the process, which I recounted in the last activity – In Your Own Words.

The young ranger on duty was enthusiastic and appreciative of this Senior Ranger completing the program. Once the booklet was reviewed I was administered the oath and received the standard Junior Ranger badge.

Ebey’s Landing National Historic Preserve – Washington

Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve
Washington

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

Completed: June 28, 2017

https://www.nps.gov/ebla/learn/kidsyouth/upload/2017-On-line-Jr-Ranger-Book.pdf

Senior Friendly

What is a National Historical Reserve? Basically, it is a living, working community primarily on private land with significant historical sites preserved and interpreted by a combination of private and public organizations. Ebey’s Landing NHR is located on Whidbey Island, west of downtown Seattle. Lighthouses, docks, farm fields, prairies, salt marshes, Native American artifacts, abundant wildlife and plants, and 19th century buildings provide the visitor with a diverse environment to explore.

This program is Senior Friendly as there is no upper age grouping. The age groupings and the number of required activities are; ages 10 and under complete 7 activities and ages 10 or older complete 14 activities.

The activities are; Nature Bingo, Getting to Know This Place, The Making of a Reserve, Word Search & Glossary, Then and Now, Hunt for Skagit Village Names, Coupeville’s Front Street, Admiralty Lighthouse, Coastal Salish People, What Helped Make the Prairies?, Hedgerows, Habitats within the Reserve, The Race for Empire in the Pacific Northwest, The Settlers Arrive, What Vegetables Do You Eat?, Growing Food On the Prairies, Letter to a Friend, Getting around Whidbey Island, and Alexander Blockhouse.

Learning about the race between Spain and England to claim this land is evident in the place names found in the area; from Rosario Strait to Penn Cove show their respective country’s influence in the late 1700s. Understanding that glaciers scoured this land to created the prairies, you can hike through today, is explained in What Helped Make the Prairies?”.

I really enjoyed exploring Coupeville’s Front Street to find historic buildings with plaques which indicate the year the building was built. This buildings along the street today are charming with a variety of businesses; restaurants, gift shops, bookstore, fiber store, and art galleries.

Once you complete the booklet you can take it to three different locations; Ebey’s Reserve Trust Board Office, Island County Historical Museum or the Central Whidbey Chamber of Commerce. I took my booklet to the Reserve office where a staff member reviewed my booklet and presented me with an attractive patch and enhanced Junior Ranger badge. The badge features the geographic features highlighted on this preserve; water, coastline, bluffs, prairies and forest.

Olympic National Park – Washington

Olympic National Park
Washington

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

Completed: June 25, 2017

Senior Friendly

This summer we visited several sections of the park, spending most of our time camping along Kalaloch Beach. Olympic has something for everyone – ocean, rivers, lakes, rainforest and mountains. No matter where you roam in this park there is plenty to see and do. Completing the Junior Ranger activities is easy with so much variety to explore.

Age groupings are Ages 5 to 7, complete five activities and Ages 8 and above, complete seven of the nine activities, plus all ages are to attend a ranger program, walk a trail and interview a ranger. Activities are; Where are your national parks?, Nature Hike Bingo, Tree of Life, Fishing for Home, Get Connected!, Seashore Detective, What’s for dinner?, Help a Ranger and Park Poet.

While camped at Kalaloch Beach I attended an evening ranger talk about Destruction Island, just off the coast. The first recorded shipwreck was in 1808, a lighthouse was built in the late 1800s and today it part of the Quillayute Needles National Wildlife Refuge. My hike activity was along the beach, enjoying tide pools and observing a juvenile and adult Bald Eagle.

For the activities in the booklet I enjoyed the Nature Hike Bingo. Besides looking for a variety of natural features I drew several of them, not an artist, but a skill I keep practicing. For Get Connected, which has you identify things you; saw, heard, smelled and touched, while exploring the park I sketched the juvenile Bald Eagle I saw perched on the top of a tall pine tree along the coast. My outline of the trees and perching tree look much better than the bird.

What’s For Dinner features the complex web of the plants and animals in the park, basically having you match a large variety of plants and based on what they eat. Orca whales eat Salmon, Starfish eat Mussels, a woodpecker eat ants, and so on. For the final activity I wrote a cinquain-style poem linking the forest and trees.

 

By the time I attended the evening ranger talk I had completed all of the activities for this program. After the program, Ranger Bethany reviewed my booklet, discussed some of work with me and awarded me the enhanced badge, featuring the Elk found in the park. This is a park that I will return to, there is so much to experience in a variety a ecosystems – Truly, something for everyone!

Walnut Canyon National Monument – Arizona

Walnut Canyon National Monument
Arizona

http://www.nps.gov/waca/imdex.htm

Completed: August 25, 2017

Senior Friendly

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.

Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site – Arizona

Visitor Center

Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site
Arizona

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

Completed: April 8, 2017

Senior Friendly

https://www.nps.gov/hutr/learn/kidsyouth/upload/Junior%20Ranger%20for%20Website-2.pdf

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.

Stone Hogan

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.

Petrified Forest National Park – Arizona

Petrified Forest National Park
Arizona
http://www.nps.gov/pefo/imdex.htm

Completed: April 8, 2017

https://www.nps.gov/pefo/learn/kidsyouth/upload/JrRangerBook2017-ndd.pdf

Senior Friendly

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!

 

 

Navajo National Monument – Arizona

Betakin Ruin

Navajo National Monument
Arizona

http://www.nps.gov/nava/inde.htm

Completed: June 24, 2016

Senior Friendly

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.

Spiderwort

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.

Campground Sunset

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!

 

Mammoth Cave National Park – Kentucky

Dixon Cave

Mammoth Cave National Park
Kentucky

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

Completed: August 11, 2016

Senior Friendly

I completed Mammoth Cave National Park’s Junior Ranger program during the NPS Centennial Year, 2016. During this year Kentucky NPS sites offered a special award, a patch, if you completed visits to all five of their park sites. Along with this park we also visited; Abraham Lincoln Birthplace NHP, Big South Fork NRRA, Cumberland Gap NHP and Fort Heiman/Fort Donelson NB.

This is a park site we had visited several times in the past, but had never taken the time to complete their program. Due to our travel schedule we were not able take a cave tour, luckily the Junior Ranger program can be completed without taking a cave tour. We were able to explore several trails while in the area.

This program is Senior Friendly, as there are four age groupings, and the upper age group is listed as Ages 12 & up. Their requirements for each age group is listed as Bat Points, each activity earns you one to two bat points and there are 28 different activities. The four age groupings and the required bat points are; Ages 4-5 – Collect 5, Ages 6-8 – Collect 9, Ages 9-11 – Collect 12 and Ages 12 & up – Collect 15 Bat Points.

The activities are; Put Your Ranger Hat On, Arrowhead Challenge, Decode Your Mission, Junior Researcher, Invent a New Cave Critter, Humans & Bats, Trog Word Search, A-maze-ing Cave Exploration, Let’s Go Caving, What’s Wrong With This Picture?, Caving Through Time, Karst-Word Puzzle, Rock Around the Park, Fossilmania, Tick-Tock, Drip-Drop, A Natural Menu, Watchable Wildlife, Animal Scramble, Nature Scavenger Hunt, Notebook Mix-Up, Early Guides of Mammoth Cave, Making Money from Dirt, Are We There Yet?, A Green Visitor Center and A Home To Be Proud Of.

That’s a lot of activities, what I like about this program is the variety of activities, which add up to 39 possible Bat Points. I also think the names of the activities are very well done, intriguing which led me to complete all but two of the activities. Most of the activities were fairly simple, there is a description or information given and then a short activity to complete.

Probably my favorite activities were either based on history, Caving Through Time and Making Money From Dirt, or on geology, Karst-World Puzzle, Rock Around the Park and Fossilmania. I always enjoy completing the scavenger hunt activities, including this one. The Nature Scavenger Hunt had 24 squares of primarily plants and animals. Because we hiked several trails in the park I located quite a few of the items. For the “Free Space! Draw Your Own” I drew a cicada, in August and on a hot day, they could be heard and their shells were found on the ground.

The ranger in the visitor center reviewed my booklet and awarded the enhanced Junior Ranger badge, featuring two cave explorers standing at the mouth of a cave.

 

San Juan Island National Historical Park – Washington


American Camp

San Juan Island National Historical Park
Washington

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

Completed: June 29, 2017

Senior Friendly

Yes, this is an island which can only be accessed by ferry or plane. We took the Washington State Ferry for a day visit, the weather was great. Once you arrive at Friday Harbor getting to the two sites, the American and English Camps, established from 1853-1872, takes some effort. There are several trolleys or transit companies which make stops at the two sites. The sites are on opposites ends of the island, some miles apart. We chose to rent a car for four hours which allowed us more time at each site and to explore the island. After visiting we did some price comparison and discovered it could have been cheaper to bring our vehicle out to the island. However you get there, visiting both sites is well worth your time.

This site commemorates the Pig War; yep, a pig got shot and the American and British settlers quarreled which led to soldiers from both countries to occupy the island to protect their citizens. No shots were fired, negotiations over 12 years were resolved through a German arbitrator. Each camp is preserved and interesting to visit.

This Junior Ranger program is Senior Friendly, as the only requirement is to

English Camp

complete the same number of activities as your age. There are 16 activities, so I completed all of them. The activities are; The Pig War, Creating Peace, 1860 Uniforms, Food, Archaeology, Tree Rings, Prairie Restoration, Use Your Senses, BINGO – American And English Camp, Life Zones – American and English Camp, Maze, Create Your Own Emblem, National Park Service, and Junior Ranger Quiz.

What I found most interesting was the diverse environments between the two camps. The American Camp was in a less desirable area of the island, colder and wetter during the winter. The English Camp was better situated at the southern end, with a protective cove. The English-style garden was attractive.

The Archaeology page was interesting, creating a table listing comparable items of Prehistoric, Historic and Modern items. As usual I enjoyed the two BINGO cards, different items to look for at each site. The ecosystem of the American Camp was primarily in the prairie and water life zones, and the British Camp in forests, down to mudflats. Some of the activities help you understand the differences.

I really enjoyed the boat trip to and from the island and exploring the island by visiting the two different camps, especially with the diversity of ecosystems. The history is interesting, but the sights are wonderful. Once I completed the activities a volunteer reviewed my booklet and presented me with a standard badge and attractive patch.