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President Bush has proclaimed April 19-27 as National Park Week, and locally, Mammoth Cave National Park will celebrate with Wildflower Weekend, April 19-20, and Junior Ranger Day on April 26. All events are open to the public and free of charge.
“National parks are special places that belong to the American people,” said Superintendent Patrick Reed. “Some preserve natural landscapes, some preserve history – at Mammoth Cave, we do both. All parks are to be studied and enjoyed.”
The surface side of Mammoth Cave is home to more than 1,000 species of plants; those that bloom in the spring present an elaborate display. Wild iris, celandine poppies, trillium, anemones, larkspur, Dutchmans’ breeches, and jack-in-the-pulpit can been seen on many park trails.
“On Wildflower Weekend, visitors can pick up a checklist at the visitor center and go out on their own, or choose from a variety of ranger-led activities,” said Ranger Paula Alexander, one of the event’s organizers. “There are guided nature walks, presentations on local history and medicinal plants, and a sketching workshop, too. ”
Rangers and visiting naturalists will share their expertise in plant identification, morel hunting, pollinators, birds of prey, geology, and history. The Glasgow Garden Club has volunteered again this year to bring wildflower specimens from their home gardens for display in the park visitor center. For the complete Wildflower Weekend schedule, go to https://www.nps.gov/maca/planyourvisit/wildflowerday.htm, or call the park at 270.758.2180.
For Junior Ranger Day, April 26, park staff are encouraging families to come outside and play in the park. Required activities take 1½ - 2 hours; upon completion, Junior Rangers receive a badge and certificate. The program is free and available every day.
“We invite young people who are already Junior Rangers to return, and want to attract new Junior Rangers, too,” added Alexander. “Junior Ranger Day provides an opportunity for children and their families to learn about the broad career opportunities in the parks, and get to know the people who work in the park everyday. This is a perfect chance to get children outside and involved.”
For more information on the Junior Ranger program at Mammoth Cave, please call the park at 270.758.2180.
- NPS -