Date: April 20, 2007
Children can take part in free, fun-filled activities during the first National Junior Ranger Day on Saturday, April 28, 2007. Junior Ranger Day is part of this year’s commemoration of National Park Week.
More than 100 National Park Service sites throughout the country will host a wide variety of events encouraging families to explore, learn about, and protect their national parks. A complete list of activities is posted on-line at www.nps.gov/npweek.
At Joshua Tree National Park special activities for kids six to 12 and their parents will be conducted at several locations in the park:
10:30 a.m. — Expedition Habitat (1 hour) Discover which animals live in the park. Meet in the parking area at Cottonwood Spring Oasis.
1 p.m. — Clever Desert Plants (1 hour) Stroll around the oasis to discover some plants that live in the park. Meet in the parking area at Cottonwood Spring Oasis.
2 p.m. — Written in Stone (30 minutes) Meet at Black Rock Nature Center to learn about American Indian art.
3 p.m. — Building Blocks of Rocks (1 hour) Meet at Black Rock Nature Center to learn about rocks, the bare bones of the park.
3:30 p.m. — Meet Harry, the Tarantula (20 minutes) Learn fun facts about this gentle creature. Meet on the patio at the Oasis Visitor Center.
4 p.m. — Tortoise Time (20 minutes) Explore the lifestyle of this desert reptile. Meet at the Cottonwood picnic area.
4:30 p.m. — Lost in the Stars (1 hour) Meet at Black Rock Nature Center for an introduction to the hidden pictures in the night sky we call constellations.
“Every National Park Service site has an important story to share,” said National Park Service Director Mary A. Bomar. “The living history programs, games, walks, demonstrations, and other special events planned for Junior Ranger Day will bring the parks to life for our youngest visitors. In addition to having fun and gaining knowledge, every child will receive a free certificate, patch, or pin for participating.”
Children who cannot visit a park in person are invited to take part in “WebRangers” activities at www.nps.gov/webrangers. Kids who complete a National Park Week scavenger hunt between April 22 and 28 will earn a special certificate. On WebRangers, kids can explore more than 40 activities, view park webcams, and share their park stories and pictures.
Financial assistance for the Junior Ranger program has been furnished by the National Park Foundation, the national charitable partner of the National Park Service. In addition, the Foundation is sponsoring an essay contest for elementary school students on the importance of national parks. National Park Foundation President and CEO Vin Cipolla said, “We are proud to support the Junior Ranger program. It is an important 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.”