Cumberland Gap National Historical Park – Kentucky, Tennessee & Virginia

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

Senior Friendly

Completed: August 13, 2016

https://www.nps.gov/cuga/learn/kidsyouth/upload/junior%20ranger%20activity%20book.pdf

This year while criss-crossing the country collecting the NPS Centennial stamps I was fortunate to be able to re-visit Cumberland Gap. This is a special park site, as my ancestors moved through the Gap to settle in Kentucky and Tennessee. Visiting in August was not ideal, it was a hot and humid day. The activities for this Junior Ranger program could be completed without too much discomfort.

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All ages can complete this program, earning it a Senior Friendly designation. The instructions just indicate to complete as many activities as you can in the booklet. The activities include; National Parks Near You!, Groovy Movie Trivia, Visitor Center Exhibit Crossword Puzzle, Pioneer Playhouse, Wildflower Tic Tac Toe, Dr. Thomas Walker Word Search, Pioneer Journal, Visions of Cumberland Gap, Operation Overlook, Beat Brush Mountain!, Settlement Spelling Bee, Cave Creations, Bats Like Us!, A Balanced Bear Diet, Wanted! Exotic Invaders, Ranger Reporter, Mountain Melodies, Art Splash, and Cumberland Gap Greetings!

Wow – lots of choices and most easy to complete during an afternoon’s visit. I appreciated the variety of activities and the information that many of the pages provided about this park. The movies in the visitor center gave information about Daniel Boone’s role in westward expansion and the geographical uniqueness of the Cumberland Gap. The crossword puzzle’s answers could be found by exploring the exhibits in the visitor center; another summer-friendly activity.

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Writing about my ancestor’s experience in the Visions of Cumberland Gap gave me a direction connection to this park. Cave Creations reinforced what I have learned at other National Park sites with caves. An anatomy lesson of a bat allowed comparison between humans and bats, both mammals. One my favorite activities at any park is interviewing a park ranger. The ranger, Sharon, shared her background and favorite part of her job. She told me that in April 2016, on one day, 2,500 Junior Rangers were awarded – amazing!

After reviewing my completed booklet I received two Junior Rangers badges, the traditional badge and the special one awarded in April.

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Golden Spike National Historic Site – Utah

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Golden Spike National Site
Utah

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

Completed: May 22, 2016

Senior Friendly

Download: https://www.nps.gov/gosp/learn/kidsyouth/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&PageID=2198215

Three years ago I began completing Junior Ranger programs, as a Senior! As I have traveled around the country I have completed almost 100 Senior or Junior Ranger programs. By completing this program I have done all of the Junior Ranger programs for the NPS sites in Utah. I still have a couple to complete to Arizona, my home state. This is another program which I was able to download and print the booklet before I left home and was able to complete a portion before arriving.

This is considered Senior Friendly as there is no age range given, the activities include; Safety First, Plan your Visit, Track Match, Scavenger Hunt, Central Pacific, Union Pacific and You Built It!, Telegraph Message, Write the Headline, Weather Report, Garbage or Artifact, and Engrave A Spike.

Several of the facts were found in the exhibits in the visitor center. It took a while to find the name of the restaurant at Promontory in 1869. It was in a wood panel hanging on the wall.

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I enjoyed looking around until I found the portrait of the local woman who was instrumental in establishing this site as an NPS site. Figuring out the parts of a train track was challenging. Throughout the booklet, at the bottom of the pages, was an incomplete track linking Sacramento to Omaha. An activity was to draw in the missing parts; tracks, bridges, tunnels, culvert and trestles.

The ranger on duty reviewed my booklet, we discussed the location of some of the answers that were found in the visitor center. Ranger Cole signed my certificate, issued pledge and gave me the badge.
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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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Fort Davis National Historic Site – Texas

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Fort Davis National Historic Site
Texas

http://www.nps.gov/foda

Completed: March 20, 2016

Senior Friendly

Our Spring trip was to take us through a large portion of Texas, the first stop was in southwestern Texas, up in the Davis Mountains. We arrived Saturday evening and camped at the nearby Davis Mountain State Park at 5,000 ft. It was very cold that night, down to 25 degrees. Luckily we have an electrical connection and could run our small heater, especially in the morning.

By the time we arrived at Fort Davis National Historic Site it had warmed up a bit, but there was a steady wind keeping it cold. After stopping in the visitor center and picking up the Junior Ranger program I headed out to follow a route throughout the site and answer questions. This fort played a major role in the development of the West for non-natives traveling on the San Antonio-El Paso Road from 1854 to 1891, with many of the fort building intact.

Fort Grounds

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It qualifies as Senior Friendly as no age range is given, the directions tell you to complete the activities to the best of your ability.This program has to be completed on site as the tour leads you to the specific locations to complete the blanks in the booklet.

The activities include; 12 questions about what is okay to do in the park, Scavenger Hunt, the 13 stop tour to fill-in-the blanks, 2 optional math questions about travel time and a decoding activity.

I liked the 12 questions about what is okay to do in the park because it wasn’t just No answers. Some asked if it was okay to pick up litter, take photographs, take water with you on a hike and others that are okay for you to do during your visit.

Fort Chapel Ruins
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The Scavenger Hunt pictured 11 items that you needed to be on the lookout for while touring the fort. The tour itself took you to most of the building, probably 1/2 mile walk in total. Some of the answers took some time to discover, I enjoyed figuring out the games and toys the children of a commanding officer enjoyed while living at the fort. The house was fully furnished and you had to look in several rooms to determine the answer.

Overlook View
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Once I completed the booklet and returned to the visitor center an enthusiastic ranger reviewed the answers and experience with me. Besides receiving the standard badge I was given 2 colorful and attractive patches. The first patch, in the shape of an arrowhead is their Junior Ranger patch. The previous weekend the park had held a special event to celebrate the Centennial of the NPS and a patch had been provided to those who participated in their Cannon Ball Run. The ranger asked if I was willing to walk up to the overlook on the south end of the park in order to “qualify” for this patch. Before leaving the fort I went up to the overlook which provided a great view of the entire fort, and was actually a very short distance.

Booklet, badge and patches
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Chamizal National Memorial – Texas

Chamizal National Memorial Mural

Chamizal National Memorial Mural


Chamizal National Memorial
El Paso, Texas

http://www.nps.gov/cham

Senior Friendly

Completed: July 18, 2015

While attending the National Park Traveler Club’s (NPTC) annual meeting in El Paso at Chamizal National Memorial I completed this Junior Ranger program. This park celebrates the peaceful resolution between the United States and Mexico in determining the international border at this location. Prior to the meeting, the site had a Junior Ranger event, so Chami, their ground squirrel mascot, was on site to greet us.

Chami

Chami

This program is considered Senior Friendly, in the front of the booklet four categories are given;
Friendship 5-6 years old
Cooperation 7-9 years old
Diplomacy 10-12 years old
Unity Friends and families of any age

You are only required to complete the section for your age group. In addition, I usually try to complete sections not required, but my time was limited because of the meeting. Each category had up to five activities, unique and appropriate to the age grouping. For the Unity section the activities were; Park Walk Checklist with five locations, NPS sites, and sharing thoughts.

The Park Walk took the most time, exploring five locations on the grounds; In Front of the Visitor Center, Boundary Markers, Port of Entry, Cottonwood Tree and Mural. At each location you were asked you to observe and list sights, sounds, and a variety of personal reflections to give you a better understanding of this unique site, four pages of writing were done to complete this section. The next activity involved listing three other NPS sites in which you are interested, then answering three questions about your interest in these parks. On the last page you were asked to write about something special about your visit to Chamizal NM. I wrote about being there for the NPTC meeting.

Just before the afternoon meeting started I brought my completed Unity section of the Junior Ranger booklet to the desk. A young volunteer thoroughly reviewed my answers, from his comments it appeared he appreciated my responses, especially those that reflected what I saw and heard while on the Park Walk. I appreciated his interest in reviewing my responses.

Booklet & Enhanced Badge

Booklet & Enhanced Badge


Besides completing the certificate at the back of the booklet, he presented me with an enhanced Junior Ranger badge and TWO beautiful patches! This is a park site I have visited several times over the years, by completing their Junior Ranged program I definitely learned more about the park.
Two patches

Two patches

Epic Proportions – QuestScouts

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http://www.questscouts.com/epic-proportions-1

Completed: June 25, 2015
Released: February 1, 2015
Expires: September 1, 2015

This quest focused on BIG! This was a fun quest, several of the quests were completed while traveling on our summer vacation. Before I left home I viewed a documentary titled “American Giants”, about the history of Muffler Men. These were created as advertising for a variety of businesses across the United States. Along our route we found one in Farmington, New Mexico at a glass business along Main Street. So two quests completed; Research and Visit.

Muffler Man – Sun Glass in Farmington, NM
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Another quest involved getting a picture of a “World’s Largest”. Along our route I found several, some a bit off our route and others we missed because of traffic or weather. I did see the World’s Largest” working chain saw in Upper Michigan, but that wasn’t my thing. Back in Arizona, after visiting Petrified Forest National Park, we saw a sign for the “World’s Largest” petrified tree. It was at Geronimo’s Trading Post, along I-40 in Joseph City. There is no sign at the tree, in their parking lot, proclaiming it the “World’s Largest”, but the staff confirmed it had been designated and I later found it on a website. What I am standing in front of is the trunk, laying around me are other pieces of the tree’s trunk. It was big!

World’s Largest Petrified Tree
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Finally the Art quest involved locating and photographing a mural, then creating a smaller version. While on our trip we spent several days in Hutchinson, Kansas. I located a wall of murals in downtown which I photographed, then created a sketch using colored pencils. I thought the design was fairly basic, a sheaf of wheat and some quilt squares, and would be easy to sketch. That worked well until I got to the quilt design at the outer edges – not so easy.

Murals
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Another fun Quest completed!

All That Came Before – Quest Scouts

Quest Scouts
http://www.questscouts.com

Quest completed: All That Came Before

Completed: May 23, 2015

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Quest Scouts is a new program, scouts for adults! I am including this as part of my Junior Ranger – Senior Friendly blog because it is in the spirit of an activity designed for adults. In my younger years I was a Girl Scout and earned a few badges along the way. So, join me on a new adventure!

In order to earn a Quest Scout badge you complete objectives within set categories; Media, Literature, Travel, Visit, Research, Art, Photography, DIY, Find, Games and MicroQuests. Each objective is worth a variety of points which usually add up to 2500, 1000 points is usually enough earn the badge. A new Quest is offered monthly with several months to complete before it is archived.

This is a commercial site which allows you to participate for free or pay a membership fee, at three different levels. I am currently participating for free, but considering paying a monthly fee. The badges are attractive, as well as the other items offered. Check it out.

DIY Frame
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All That Came Before, the first badge I chose to complete, focuses on history. I completed five of the objectives; Visit, Travel, Research, Art and DIY for a total of 1,150 points. As you complete an activity you post your information on the website or via social media using #questscouts. I am using Instagram to post pictures taken and of completed projects.

Art – La Casa Cordova
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For Travel I posted pictures of three historical markers; Geronimo Surrender Monument ( E of Douglas, AZ), El Tiradito (Tucson) and Juan Bautista de Anza expedition (Tucson, bridge over Santa Cruz River). For Art I did a sketch of the oldest building in Tucson, La Casa Cordova, which is part of the Tucson Museum of Art property. My DIY project was a picture frame made from National Park magnets framing a picture of me participating in Earth Day 1970.

Travel – El Tiradito
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I enjoyed the variety of activities. This is a great program for adults to explore the world around you! I’ll start working on Epic Proportions.