Virtual Junior Ranger

Scotts Bluff National Monument Junior Ranger badge
Scotts Bluff National Monument Centennial Junior Ranger badge.

NPS/Eric Grunwald

Junior Rangers are special people who are dedicated to their National Parks. Their mission is to explore, learn, and protect; and to have fun while doing it!

While you can earn your Junior Ranger badge during a visit to Scotts Bluff National Monument, we have also put together an opportunity for you to become a Scotts Bluff National Monument Virtual Junior Ranger.

Using the pages of the Scotts Bluff National Monument and other National Park Service websites, you can complete the quiz below to earn your Virtual Junior Ranger badge! When you finish, download and print your badge to add to your collection!

 

For whom is Scotts Bluff named?

Question: For whom is Scotts Bluff named? Question: For whom is Scotts Bluff named?

Left image
Question: For whom is Scotts Bluff named?

Right image
Answer: Slide to reveal
Credit: NPS/Eric Grunwald

 

When groups of emigrants camped near Scotts Bluff, they often told the story of the man for whom the bluff was named around the campfire. The story had many different variations, but frequently it involved a fur trader who fell ill as he traveled back to St. Louis from out west. His companions, unable to carry him any further, abandoned him along the trail. When fur traders headed back west the following season, his bones were discovered near the bluff that now bears his name. For whom is Scotts Bluff named? Click here for a clue.

 

What Were the Three Trails the Emigrants Traveled Near Scotts Bluff?

The bluffs at Mitchell Pass bathed in morning light The bluffs at Mitchell Pass bathed in morning light

Left image
Answer: Slide to reveal
Credit: NPS/Eric Grunwald

Right image
Question: What were the three trails that emigrants traveled near Scotts Bluff?

 

Scotts Bluff has long been a landmark for people travelling through the North Platte River Valley. For people emigrating west in the mid to late 1800s, their first sight of the bluff signaled that their journey was about to change. Just past Scotts Bluff, the emigrants entered into the rugged mountains where travel became more difficult. What were the three different trails that these emigrants traveled? Click here for a clue.

 

What will you pack for your trip on the Oregon Trail?

Task: Create a list of items you will pack for your journey on the Oregon Trail. Task: Create a list of items you will pack for your journey on the Oregon Trail.

Left image
Task: Create a list of items you will pack for your journey on the Oregon Trail.

Right image
Answer: Slide to reveal
Credit: NPS/Eric Grunwald

 

Have you ever packed a suitcase for a family vacation? If so, what did you decide to bring? Flip-flops? A swimsuit? Clean underwear? Imagine packing your belongings for a 2,000 mile journey along the rugged Oregon Trail in a wagon, pulled by a team of mules or oxen.

One of the first tasks for emigrants was deciding what supplies to pack for their long journey. Luckily, there were several guidebooks written to aid them. One of the more popular guidebooks of the time was The Emigrant’s Guide to Oregon and California by Lansford Hastings. Hastings suggested that emigrants carry 200 pounds of flour, 150 pounds of bacon, 20 pounds of sugar, 10 pounds of coffee and 10 pounds of salt per person. That’s a lot of food!

Imagine it is the year 1851 and you will be traveling west on the Oregon Trail with your family. Make a list of items will you pack in your wagon.For some ideas, click here and see the “Supplies” section.

 

How long was the Pony Express in Existence?

The bluffs at Mitchell Pass bathed in morning light The bluffs at Mitchell Pass bathed in morning light

Left image
Answer: Slide to reveal
Credit: NPS/Eric Grunwald

Right image
Question: How long was the Pony Express in existence?

 

Did you know that the famous Pony Express travelled past Scotts Bluff? The Pony Express was an early way to exchange mail between the eastern and western parts of the United States. A series of horse riders would travel short segments of the trail with the mail in a specially designed mochila; a leather pouch. At the end of each segment the mochila would be passed on to the next rider. Altogether, they were able to transport the mail 1,800 miles between St Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California in about 10 days. That’s much faster than any other method available up until that time.


The Pony Express didn’t last long though. By late October of 1861 a telegraph line connected New York and San Francisco. With telegraph service messages could be delivered in a matter of minutes, instead of days. How long was the Pony Express in existence? Click here for a clue .

 

Make a sketch of your backyard, a room in your home, or your family.

Task: Create a sketch of your backyard, a room in your home, or your family. Task: Create a sketch of your backyard, a room in your home, or your family.

Left image
Task: Create a sketch of your backyard, a room in your home, or your family.

Right image
Answer: Slide to reveal
Credit: NPS/Eric Grunwald

 

In 1866, a young man named William Henry Jackson passed through Mitchell Pass at Scotts Bluff. He was working as a bullwhacker, hauling freight out west using oxen. In later years William would go on to become a famous artist. He is well known for taking some of the first photographs of Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. In fact, many believe that his photos of Yellowstone helped convince people throughout the United States that it was an important area, worthy of being protected. In 1872, Yellowstone became the world’s first national park.

William Henry Jackson didn’t just take photos of famous landmarks though. While he worked as a bullwhacker, he would often use some of his precious free time make sketches of the day-to-day life of a bullwhacker and the places he traveled.

This is your chance to be like William Henry Jackson. Make a sketch of your day-to-day life. You can draw your backyard, a room in your home, or your family members. Use scrap paper and pencils, pens, markers; whatever you have lying around your house. To learn more about William Henry Jackson take a look at this page.

 

How much money did Civilian Conservation corps enrollees earn each month?

The bluffs at Mitchell Pass bathed in morning light The bluffs at Mitchell Pass bathed in morning light

Left image
Answer: Slide to reveal
Credit: NPS/Eric Grunwald

Right image
Question: How much money did CCC enrollees earn each month?

 

The early 1930s were a tough time for many people living in the United States. It is estimated that nearly one-fourth of all working-aged men were out of a job. When Franklin Roosevelt was elected President of the United States in 1932, he had a plan to provide people with jobs. He called it the New Deal.


Part of the New Deal was a program for young men that provided them with work in national and state parks building trails, planting trees, and working on other conservation projects. The program was called the Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC for short. At Scotts Bluff National Monument the men of CCC Company 762 built trails, portions of the Summit Road and a new museum building. How much money did CCC enrollees earn each month? Click here for a clue.

BONUS Question: After sending some of the money home to their families each month, how much did each enrollee get to keep for his own spending?

 

Have a ranger check your work.

A ranger holds a Junior Ranger badge. A ranger holds a Junior Ranger badge.

Left image
Task: Show your work to the ranger.
Credit: NPS/Robert Wagner

Right image
The bluffs surrounding Mitchell Pass bathed in morning light.
Credit: NPS/Eric Grunwald

 
Scotts Bluff National Monument Junior Ranger badge
Scotts Bluff National Monument Centennial Junior Ranger badge

NPS/Eric Grunwald

Congratulations! You are now an official Scotts Bluff National Monument Virtual Junior Ranger. To download your virtual ranger badge, right click and "save image as" jpeg. Navigate to your downloads folder and open the image on your computer. From there you can print.


To proudly wear your badge: Print your badge, use it as a template to cut a piece of cardboard matching the shape, and then glue the paper and a pin onto the cardboard!

Last updated: July 31, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 27
Gering, NE 69341

Phone:

(308) 436-9700

Contact Us