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

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African Burial Ground National Monument – New York

African Burial Ground National Monument
New York

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

Senior Friendly

Completed: July 18, 2018

A relatively new site, it was added to the National Park Service in 2006. The story reaches back to the 17th and 18th century when African men, women and children were buried in lower Manhattan and then forgotten. In 1991 their graves were rediscovered when a new building site was being excavated. From there a series of events led to the development of this unique and well-interpreted site. Besides being in the center of New York City, on a summer day with local day camps visiting this site was lively. I appreciate how the park service has interpreted this difficult history. Possibly 20,000 individuals may have been buried in this 5 block area. Of those, 419 sets of remains were excavated and sent to Howard University in 1993. They were returned to the site in 2003 for reburial. The visitor center does an excellent job of explaining the history. Adjacent, but outside and around the corner, is a dramatic Memorial.

This Junior Ranger program is considered Senior Friendly as no upper age is given. Only 4 activities are required to be completed, with 10 different activities from which to chose.

Artifacts Pictures of artifacts found on this site with the names scrambled, to be unscrambled.

Language Using Senegal, one of the African languages spoken, a couple of sentences which included my name and where I am from was transcribe. A translation guide was provided.

Who Am I? Short description of individuals are provided, using information from the visitor center displays I identified them. The descriptions focused on the circumstances of their slavery and their determination to become free.

Symbols Several Andinkra symbols are shown with their meaning; Wisdom & Prudence, Hope, Guardinship and Patience & Tolerance. For this activity you draw your own symbol.


Be A Reporter Using the timeline in the visitor center nine events from 1991 up to 2010 are identified detailing the discovery of the remains, up to the opening of the visitor center.

Fill In The Blank Completing the 5 sentences from informations found in the visitor center.

Freedom For me – “Freedom to speak freely!”

Memorial Stepping outside the answer to these 7 questions are found at the Memorial.

Africa Color Africa your favorite color.

Experience Your America An opportunity to list the ways to care for all of the National Parks.

Even with lots of summer camps kids experiencing the site I was able to complete the booklet in about 1-1/2 hours. The space is small and packed with excellent displays and information. The ranger on duty willingly helped me with a few of the questions. Besides receiving the enhanced, smaller metal badge I received an attractive patch.

Next time you are in New York City take time to visit the African Burial Ground Monument, it literally is ‘history’ under your feet.

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.

Waterton Lakes National Park – Alberta, CN


Fringed Grass of Parnassus

Waterton Lakes National Park
British Columbia, Canada

Completed: July 2017

Senior Friendly

As a park partnered with the US Glacier National Park and sharing an international border, Waterton Lakes is a site I have visited several times over the years. On a previous visit I was fortunate to travel south by boat on Upper Waterton Lake to visit Goat Haunt, on the northern edge of Glacier National Park. On this visit I explored more of the land-based sections of Waterton Lakes, getting some wonderful wildflower photos.

This program is considered Senior Friendly, as no age levels are given. No minimum activities are stated to become an Xplorer at this park. The activities include; Join In, Take It Easy, Figure It Out, Find It, Create Your Own, Take A Look, Get Moving, Take A Drive, Search For, Listen, and Imagine.

Join In: A quick journal entry about the evening program Plant Wars. This was an excellent program, lots of audience participation.

Take It Easy -Do Your Part: A checklist of five environmentally friendly things I did while visiting the park.

Figure It Out – Caution: Mother Nature at Work: check mark for visits to homes for plants and animals. I was able to see an avalanche which created Bertha Falls and a flood area at Cameron Creek.

Find It: A Bingo card featuring Flowers, Butterflies and Bees. I was able to find 7 of 9.

Get Moving – Four Seasons of Fun. Creating a bucket list of things to do during the season of your visit. Mine included to camp at Crandall Lake, visit the Native Plants Garden and take flower photos.


Harebell – Campanula rotundifolia

Listen – The Sounds Around: Create a chart listing natural sounds and human-made sounds. While visiting the park the natural sounds I heard were; rain, thunder, the chattering of a red squirrel, a bird singing and a rushing river.

At the end of the evening program, at the campground, I presented my completed booklet to Ranger Brenna and received the last of my awards from Parks Canada, on this trip. I think their Xplorers program was very well done. I enjoyed each park’s activities as I travelled through Canada in July 2017. I look forward to a return visit to Canada and completing more of their programs.

Mount Revelstoke National Park – British Columbia, Canada


Mount Revelstoke National Park
British Columbia, Canada

Completed: July 2017

Senior Friendly

Mount Revelstoke National Park is on the western side of the Rocky Mountains, near the busy town of Revelstoke and along the Columbian River. We entered from the west, along Trans Canada Highway 1, a busy cross-country highway which cuts through the middle of the park.

This was our first view of the red chairs, Parks Canada has placed pairs of the chairs in the parks. A place to sit and enjoy a special spot in the parks. I found this one along the Skunk Cabbage Boardwalk, an easy trail just off the highway.

This program is considered Senior Friendly, as no age levels are given. Only three activities are required to become an Xplorer. The activities include; Use Your Senses, Take A Look, Search For, Figure it Out, Get Moving, Try it Out, Figure it Out, Search For, Take a Look, Create your Own, Go Meet and Find It.

Most of those titles don’t give you much of an idea of the activity, so I’ll briefly describe the ones that I completed. We visited seven of the parks in a week, so not much time was spent in any one park. I appreciated that only three activities had to be completed and there was a great variety of activities.

Search For was a wordsearch for 24 plant names of plants found in this park. Figure it Out was a crossword about ski jumping, a sport with history at Revelstoke. For Take a Hike I walked along the Skunk Cabbage Boardwalk, much more pleasant than the name hints. Besides finding the red chairs I enjoyed the walk along sections of boardwalk and into a dense forest.

Search For has two options; find 100 animals in the park or find 12 animals pictured in a colorful graphic in the book. With my limited time I chose the easier and faster activity of finding the 12 animals. Overall the graphics in this booklet are excellent and really nice for this activity.

A scavenger hunt at Skunk Cabbage Boardwalk completed the activity for Take A Look. I saw quite a few of the items listed, however I did not see an American Dipper which I saw later at another park on our trip. I attempted Find It, a Bingo! Square, but was unable to complete a row of four. Almost, but not four in a row. It was fun to look for the items, I wished I could have found more along the way.

I brought the booklet to a visitor center in Glacier National Park. After reviewing the booklet and discussing my visit the staff signed the certificate contained in the booklet declaring me an ‘Official Parks Canada Xplorer’. I also received the colorful Xplorer dog tag. Even though I didn’t spend a full day in this park I found the activities a great way to experience Mount Revelstoke National Park.

Online:
https://pcacdn.azureedge.net/-/media/pn-np/bc/glacier/pdf/Xplorers/Xplorer_MtRevelstoke_English.pdf?la=en&modified=20130213223646&hash=EB441675D2658CB453FBC6185417446D317BDBF0

*The Canadian Encyclopedia

Hawai`i Island National Parks – Hawai`i


Black-necked Stilt

Hawai`i Island National Parks Junior Ranger Adventure Book

Completed: November 2017

This is a unique Junior Ranger program, and one I thoroughly enjoyed completing while visiting the Big Island of Hawai`i. I was on the island for a week so I had time to work on the activities for the five units; one national park, two national historical parks, a national historic site and a national historic trail.

As you complete all of the activities for each park, you receive their junior ranger badge. Additionally, the more park badges you earn, the higher the level of rewards you receive. In place of describing the activities for the different sites I hope the pictures will show how much fun this program was to complete.

The booklet lists the ages for this program as 7 to 12, however every site was very welcoming to this Senior Ranger.

Pu’ukoholā Heiau NHS
11/3/2017
A small site that was a place for the royal family, where a battle was fought and today, a refuge for sharks.
This site also has a Senior Ranger, or as it is called in Hawai`i, Kapuna Ranger. I only had to complete a couple of pages in the Kapuna Ranger booklet, in addition to the four pages in the main booklet.


Ala Kahakai NHT
11/4/2017
The trail traverses the Hawaiian coast for 175 miles. While visiting Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park I hiked a section of the trail, along the “1871 Trail”.

Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau NHP
11/4/2017
This is the site of another place for the royals, as well as a place of refuge, pu’uhonau. I joined a group of junior rangers and a ranger to weave a fish from coconut leaves.

Kaloko-Honokōhau NHP
11/5/2017
Fish are an important resource to the people of Hawai`i, at this site the historical fishponds can be explored.

Hawai’i Volcanoes NP
11/6/2017
Last, but not least was time spent at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Our visit was six months before the Kīlauea crater became very active, causing local damage and restricting access to the park, at times. Besides seeing the crater near the Jaggar Museum, I really enjoyed hiking out to the petroglyphs. They are unique, mostly on rocks lying on the ground, not up on rock walls as I have typically seen.

I loved working on this program, the activities for each site were unique and interesting. As usual, I learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed exploring these sites.

Hawai`i Island National Parks Junior Ranger – Adventure Book & Patch

Solar Eclipse – Nationwide


Photo by Roberta Klisiewicz
Eclipse Explorer
Nationwide

Completed: August 19, 2018

Senior Friendly
https://www.nps.gov/kids/pdf/jr-eclipse-exploreractivity%20book.pdf
During August 2017 a total eclipse was visible across the United States, it was the event of the summer. The National Park Service (NPS) identified 20 of their sites where the Path of Totality could be viewed. They provided a special passport stamp for each of the locations and a Junior Ranger booklet. Besides being available online many NPS sites had the booklet, including many not along the Path of Totality. I was able to pick up my booklet at Saguaro National Park in Tucson, AZ, over 1,000 miles from the closest NPS site of the total eclipse.

The booklet was created as a partnership between the U.S. National Park Service and The Planetary Society, plus it features Bill Nye and a character named Junior Ranger Calisa to help you to complete the booklet. It is Senior Friendly with three ages groups;
Earth – ages 5-7
Moon – ages 8-9
Sun – ages 10 +
To earn the badge you need to complete the activities for your age group.

Activities include; Become an Eclipse Explorer, What is a Total Solar Eclipse, Protect Your Eyes, Syzygy, Ancient Cultures and Eclipses, Tell Your Own Story, Future Eclipses, Look-Listen-Feel, Make Your Way through the Solar Corona Maze, Shadows and Light, and Stamp out the Sun.

I was able to complete the booklet over several days by using the material provided on each page. On the page that shows the Path of Totality they provided dates for future total eclipses through the United States. Looks like I have a couple of more chances to observe totality, if I live to be 90!

Within the booklet a pair of ‘Safe for Direct Solar Viewing’ glasses were provided. I used them to observe the partial eclipse in Tucson, about 60%. A friend observed the total eclipse at Fort Laramie National Historic Site, in eastern Wyoming. She shared photos from that site showing the sun blocked out.

I was unable to observe the total eclipse, however I did write to all 20 NPS sites for their unique Total Solar Eclipse stamp. Between stamps provided from the sites via a SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) and trading with members of the National Park Travelers Club I was able to collect all of the stamps.

After completing the booklet I returned to Saguaro National Park where my booklet was reviewed and I was awarded the enhanced, wooden badge as a Eclipse Explorer.

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.