National Park Week Celebration Focuses on "Kids in Parks"
Contact: Joan Anzelmo, 970-858-3617 x300
Contact: Michelle Wheatley, 970-858-3617 x300
President Bush has proclaimed April 19 through 27 as National Park Week and encourages everyone to enjoy the natural wonders and inspirational history found in parks across the country.
The theme of this year’s National Park Week is "Kids in Parks." About 200 national parks will commemorate the 2nd annual Junior Ranger Day on April 26 or as in the case of Colorado National Monument on Friday, April 25, with plenty of fun-filled activities and special events.
Colorado National Monument will welcome over 900 third and fourth grade students from schools throughout the Western Slope for its Junior Ranger Day events. The event will include a number of different activity stations hosted by park staff, Mesa County Search and Rescue, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Colorado Youth Conservation Corps, REI, and federal interagency wildland firefighters. Through interactive demonstrations on various topics including technical rescue, Leave No Trace/outdoor ethics, trail building, Law Enforcement, interpretation, maintenance, wildlife, wildland firefighting, and resource management, students will learn about what goes on behind the scenes in our national parks and how we can all work together to protect Colorado National Monument.
"Our country’s national parks provide children with unparalleled opportunities to have fun while learning something new," said National Park Service Director Mary A. Bomar.
The "Kids in Parks" theme will continue throughout the year as parks expand and improve youth-oriented ranger programs, educational exhibits, and Junior Ranger activities. Additionally, this summer Colorado National Monument will host its first "Junior Ranger Explorer Camp" in conjunction with Mesa County Valley School District 51’s Summer Extended Learning Program and the city of Grand Junction’s Parks and Recreation "STARS" program.
About 300 National Park Service sites including Colorado National Monument have ongoing Junior Ranger programs which encourage children to "Explore-Learn-Protect" national parks. At Colorado National Monument the Junior Ranger program includes a variety of activities designed for kids aged 5 through 12. During 2007, over 1,500 kids earned their badges and were sworn in as official Junior Rangers. Junior Ranger activity guides can be picked up at the visitor center free of charge.
"I truly hope people will take part in National Park Week activities and continue to visit and enjoy these special places that connect us to our shared heritage and natural treasures," said Bomar.
A complete list of National Park Week and Junior Ranger Day activities is available at http://www.nps.gov/npweek.
Did You Know?
Each Independence Day, local climbers scale the iconic Independence Monument in Colorado National Monument and raise an American flag on top. This tradition dates back to early park promoter John Otto, whose route up Independence Monument climbers still follow.