St. Croix National Scenic Riverway Awarded Junior Ranger Ambassadors Grant
Contact: Jean Van Tatenhove, 320-629-2148
St. Croix National Scenic Riverway announces that they have been selected to receive a 2007 Junior Ranger Ambassadors grant to assist the Riverway in creating a Jr. Ranger program. The Junior Ranger Ambassadors Initiative in its second year is made possible through the generous support of the National Park Foundation.
National Park Foundation Junior Ranger Ambassador grants, awarded to 30 national parks sponsor Junior Ranger Ambassadors across the country to assist in developing and improving National Park Junior Ranger programs. The Junior Ranger Ambassador program, initiated in 2006, employs Student Conservation Association interns to assist with the design, delivery and promotion of National Park Junior Ranger Programs.
Elise Johnson, a 2003 graduate of Grantsburg High School and student at Carleton College, has been selected as the Student Conservation Association intern to work with the Riverway. "The Riverway presents some interesting challenges for a Junior Ranger program. Youngsters can have a very different experience exploring the upper Namekagon River versus the Dalles of the St. Croix. The Junior Ranger program must accommodate both types of experiences" Said Superintendent Tom Bradley. "We are pleased that Elise has a knowledgeable background of the St. Croix and can incorporate her personal perspective growing up near the river when developing the program."
The Junior Ranger program, created by the National Park Service in the 1960s, engages kids in age-appropriate activities that introduce them to the treasures of the national park system, allowing them to discover the significance of these special places and to understand the importance of protecting them. Today, the Junior Ranger program serves 383,639 children in 297 Parks and includes an online component, WebRangers which receives over 1 million visitors annually.
This announcement is the latest in the National Park Foundation’s nationwide support of the Junior Ranger program. Since 2005, the Foundation has directed more than $2.5 million dollars in support of the program including support for the first ever Jr. Ranger Day, an annual celebration of Junior Rangers and the Junior Ranger Program.
"We know how important it is that our children have a connection to America through our national parks," said National Park Foundation President and CEO, Vin Cipolla. "We are proud to support the Junior Ranger program as part of our nationwide effort to connect children to America’s heritage so that they can develop the sense of pride and ownership necessary to be the future stewards of these magnificent places."
About the National Park Foundation
The National Park Foundation (www.nationalparks.org) is a 501(c)(3) organization chartered by Congress in 1967 to continue a century-long tradition of private philanthropy ensuring funding to preserve and enhance the legacy of our National Parks. As the official non-profit partner of America’s National Parks, the National Park Foundation does not receive federal appropriations for their support. The National Park Foundation serves to strengthen the connection between the American people and their national parks by raising private funds, making strategic grants, creating innovative partnerships and increasing public awareness. Support of the National Park Foundation ensures that the evolving history and rich heritage of our Nation remains vital and relevant.
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Did You Know?
Winged maple leaf mussels were thought to be extinct until some were rediscovered in the St. Croix River in 1987. Today scientists are helping to raise young mussels and re-introducing them into their former range including St. Croix National Scenic Riverway to help prevent future extinction.