• The working watermen community of Tangier Island VA at sunset. Photo by Starke Jett.

    Chesapeake Bay

Be A Junior Ranger

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Earn this badge as a Junior Ranger for the Captain John Smith Trail

Become a Junior Ranger for the Chesapeake Bay

Two Junior Ranger badges are available - become a Captain John Smith Ranger or a Star-Spangled Banner Ranger. Or both!

Captain John Smith was quite an adventurer when he explored the Chesapeake Bay. The routes that he traveled and many of the places that he saw 400 years ago are now part of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic

As a Junior Ranger for the John Smith Trail, you will learn about:

  • explorer Captain John Smith and his voyages on the Chesapeake Bay
  • the American Indians who lived along the Chesapeake Bay
  • what the Chesapeake Bay was like 400 years ago and what it is like today
  • what you can do as a Junior Ranger to help the Chesapeake Bay.

It's easy and it's fun. Here's how:

  • Download the Junior Ranger Activity Book
  • Read the instructions in the introduction.
  • Take a "virtual tour" of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. You'll find all the information you need on this website to become a Junior Ranger for the trail.
  • Complete the activity pages for your age group
  • Send the completed pages and your signed Junior Ranger Pledge to:

Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail
Junior Ranger Program
P.O. Box 374
Yorktown, VA 23690

A park ranger will review your work. If you've done a good job in learning about the trail, the ranger will mail you a badge and certify you as an official Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail Junior Ranger.

Find Clues from the Past

Captain John Smith did not "discover" the Chesapeake Bay region. There were already people living here for thousands of years before the European settlers arrived. American Indians didn't leave written descriptions, but they left many other types of clues to tell us who they were and how they lived.

This is the stuff that archeologists study. If you enjoy digging in dirt, solving mysteries, and piecing together puzzles, you should check out the National Park Service website Archeology for Kids.

Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail Junior Ranger

Have you heard the national anthem for the United States? It starts "O say can you see, by the dawn's early light". Junior Rangers for the Star-Spangled Banner Trail learn how that song came to be the national anthem, an important "campaign" of the War of 1812 that happened in the Chesapeake Bay, and the people and places that are part of the story of the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail.

Plus, you'll earn a special badge to show that you are an official Junior Ranger for the Star-Spangled Banner Trail.

Here's how:

  • Download the Star-Spangled Banner Trail Junior Ranger activity book.
  • Read the instructions in the introduction.
  • Take a "virtual tour" of the trail's special website. You'll find all the information you need to become a Junior Ranger.
  • Complete the activity pages for your age group.

Send the completed pages and your signed Junior Ranger Pledge to:

Star-Spangled Banner National Historic TrailJunior Ranger Program

P.O. Box 374

Yorktown, VA 23690

A park ranger will review your work. If you've done a good job learning about the trail, the ranger will mail you a badge and certify you as an official Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail Junior Ranger.

Did You Know?

Satellite image of the Bay

Did you know that the Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in North American and the second largest in the world?