Junior Rangering at the National Parks

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine into trees.” – John Muir

The National Park Service turns 100 on August 25, 2016. This year you can find commemorative programs, hikes, talks and even lectures by actors posing as early founders and influencers like John Muir, throughout National Parks in the U.S.

The NPS did not leave the youngsters out of the festivities. This year, children ranging from 4 to 17 years old (age varies at each park) can earn a special Centennial Junior Ranger Badge at participating National Parks.

My husband Shawn, my 4-year old son, Miles, and I have visited Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado over the past month as we venture through the United States in our motorhome. It’s a great year to explore the parks with your kids and for yourself too! The ranger talks, lectures and even camp sing-alongs are open to all, not just the kiddos.

We’ve enjoyed meeting the rangers, attending a late night “Astronomy in the Park” talk and completing two Junior Ranger books with our son Miles. Through his activity books, we’ve got down and dirty inspecting and studying scat (animal waste), examining wildlife and of course, learning how to respect and take care of our parks.

To earn a Junior Ranger badge, the ranger must complete the assigned number of activities for their age group, attend a ranger talk and recite the Junior Ranger pledge. Each time Miles earned a badge, I’ve beamed with joy, feeling as though I had earned one too. Honestly, I’m a tad jealous that I’m not able to stitch my own badge onto my denim jacket like all the children.

This is a great year to join in and “Find Your Park” and say cheers to 100 years!

Written by Virginia Sandfer. Virginia is the founder of Third & Brand, an out-of-the box design studio. She has a developed a niche client base that includes a diverse collection of small businesses with a creative passion: from organic restaurants, dance studios, to retailers. If you catch her away from her desk, she’s usually working on her craft by researching styles at local thrift shops, or meeting up with fellow creative types exploring new ideas.

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