Calling all outdoor-loving kids: Now is the time to become a Junior Ranger

Did you realize you can do the work from home?

Visitors of any age can become Junior Rangers. (NPS photo)

Cute idea alert: Help your children become “Junior Rangers” this weekend or perhaps as a fun project to kick off next week.

After all, Saturday marks National Junior Ranger Day. (Did you even know there was such a thing?)

We first saw this post from Yellowstone National Park earlier in the month, which got our wheels turning:

Calling All Junior Rangers! While the park is closed, we are offering the Yellowstone Junior Ranger program booklet...

Posted by Yellowstone National Park on Thursday, April 9, 2020

What a fun concept.

As the post says, you can download and then have your kids complete this booklet right at home. Here’s the booklet itself for Yellowstone.

The National Park Service, by the way, is modifying its operations on a park-by-park basis in accordance with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local public health authorities, in response to COVID-19. That means many parks are closed.

But you and your family can still “explore” them from the safety of your very own kitchen table, couch or bedroom.

Here’s what else the NPS says about the Yellowstone Junior Ranger program: It’s self-guided, best for children ages 4 and older, and your kids will get a patch at the end if they complete the requirements.

The patches feature a geyser for kids ages 4 to 7, a grizzly bear for children 8 to 12 and a bison for those 13 and older.

“This program is a way to introduce children — and those young at heart — to the natural wonders of the park and their own role in preserving these wonders for the future,” this website reads.

Full-color booklets are available for $3 at Yellowstone’s park visitor centers, presumably once things reopen, that is. Here’s what else you need to do for Yellowstone, specifically. It looks like you can substitute your home and yard for the actual park grounds, and you’ll watch a video, as well.

When you and your kids are done, you’ll send an email. Again, the link with all those details is here.

Keep in mind, Yellowstone is just one part of the NPS.

Many national parks offer young visitors the opportunity to join the National Park Service’s “family” as Junior Rangers. Learn more.

Junior Rangers are typically between the ages of 5 to 13, although people of all ages can participate, officials said.

“The Junior Ranger Program is a great way to explore national parks. You can learn about nature sounds, night skies, or even the Transcontinental Railroad! You’ll also learn why national parks matter and how you can be a part of the team that helps keep parks healthy. We don’t care what age you are—just “explore, learn, and protect” your national parks online and become an official Junior Ranger! Look for the virtual badges you can print out and post on your refrigerator.”

The Kids Portal has more, if you’re interested.

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