The National Park Service has designed a Junior Ranger Program to help make the national park experience extra special for children ages 4 to 14 (although people of all ages can participate.)
The Junior Ranger program gives kids and families the opportunity to uniquely explore and learn about their national parks, and how they can help protect them today and into the future. Junior Rangers can be thought of as potential Park Rangers in training. This nationwide program is designed to familiarize children with the duties and responsibilities of a park ranger.
There are currently over 200 Junior Ranger Programs in the National Park Service. In each of these programs, kids interview Rangers, complete games, and answer questions about the park and the National Park Service. At the end of their experience in the park, kids are sworn in as Junior Rangers and receive a special certificate and official Junior Ranger badge.
“Explore, Learn, and Protect!” The Junior Ranger motto is recited by children around the country; each taking an oath of their own to protect parks, continue to learn about parks, and share their own ranger story with friends and family.Junior Rangers help to preserve and protect national parks. They learn about nature and history, have fun exploring the parks, and tell their friends, families, and schoolmates about their adventures. Junior Rangers continue to protect the environment at home and at school.
Becoming a Junior Ranger is a mark of distinction. These special badges issued cannot be purchased or otherwise obtained except through the dedication of the child and the support of his or her parents or guardians. Parents wishing their children to become Junior Rangers should plan several hours at a park toward the completion of this program.
A little known fact is that Gerald Ford, our 38th president, was the only American president to serve as a park ranger in the National Park Service.
All Junior Ranger programs are free of charge.