A friend recently told me about the Junior Ranger Program, available at most of our national parks. I looked into it, and while it sounded great to Tiny Buns, Beanie, and me, I couldn’t get the big kid on board right away. I think he must have assumed that completing the program would only get him a gold star. When he heard me talking about the beautiful embroidered patches one receives upon completing their level of study/activity, he wanted in on the action - like grizzly bear for highly processed packaged human food.
So we bought each kid a booklet at $3 a pop. In each book there are lots of activities for different age levels. Tiny Buns tackled the 4-7yo *Geyser* level, Beanie opted to take an early step up to the 8-12yo *Bear* level, and the big kid insisted on challenging himself with the 13+ *Buffalo* level. In the end, they were all able to complete the required work in about 3-4 hours (each). It was a great way to continue their education of Yellowstone, and an activity they were all eager to complete. Once they did, we returned back to the closest ranger station for official review of their booklets, and of course, to take the official pledge.
I must admit, I got a little choked up when they held their right hands up for Ranger Megan, and took the Yellowstone Junior Ranger oath. The whole thing was just ridiculously cute to observe. We are all looking forward to doing similar programs this week in our upcoming visits to national parks in South Dakota.
Junior Ranger Pledge:
"As a Junior Ranger, I promise to teach others about what I learned today, explore other parks and historic sites, and help preserve and protect these places so future generations can enjoy them."
Speaking of rangers, this is probably just as good a spot as any to share pics of these incredible vintage 1950's NPS posters I fell for at the park's ranger museum.
Aren't they incredible?! I would love to find one someday and hang it in the naturalist's bedroom. I'm pretty sure it would make the both of us very happy.