Ranger Guided

Theodore Roosevelt National Park offers a limited amount of ranger-led field trips throughout the school year. Our highest demand for these programs is in the month of May; limited staffing means we are not always able to satisfy the demand.

If you are interested in coming to the park for a ranger-led program, please download and submit a Field Trip Request Form. You must save this file to your computer and open it from there, not through your web browser.

Please read the expectations below for attending an environmental education program. At the bottom of this page you will find descriptions about the three programs the park offers.


Field Trip Requirements

Academic Fee Waiver

You should submit a fee waiver regardless of whether you are doing a self-guided or ranger-led field trip. Most public and private schools are eligible for a fee waiver. Please submit your fee waiver three weeks before the date of your field trip.


Your students should come to their education program with background knowledge of the topic they will be learning about. Pre-site lessons are proven to strengthen the connections students make while they are at an educational site. Their field trip to the park should enhance knowledge they already have, not introduce brand-new concepts. The provided lesson plans on our website are excellent pre-site activities.

Behavior Expectations

Students should understand the significance of national parks, and what behaviors are not allowed. Responsible behavior such as respecting wildlife, not removing resources (i.e. rocks, bones, flowers, etc.), not littering, and respecting park staff and other visitors should be discussed before your visit.

What to Bring (and What to Leave Behind)

Dress appropriately for the weather. Your group will be outdoors for extended periods of time. Close-toed shoes are required. Long pants should be worn for hikes and prairie dog explorations. Protection from sun, wind and general weather conditions are required. Bag lunches should be disposable/recyclable.

Your students should not bring electronics - this includes cameras, phones, tablets, etc. These items become a huge distraction, and only serve to inhibit connections between students and the resource. Items such as packs and water bottles should be left on the bus during ranger-led activities.

Name Tags

All participants must wear name tags (even teachers/chaperons). Use a roll of masking tape and a permanent marker. This enhances student participation and helps control behavior.


Your group should have a minimum of one adult for every ten students. Chaperons are expected to help with student behavior and participate in activities. Remind adults that this experience is for the students to learn, not for parents (or teachers) to jump in with answers.


Ranger-led Field Trip Programs

The park offers three ranger-led education programs. You will check which program(s) you would like on your Field Trip Request Form. Rarely does a group have time for all three programs in one day, but it is common for a group to have a Cabin Tour and one other program. The programs are defined by curriculum subject below:

Social Studies and Theodore Roosevelt

The Maltese Cross Cabin was used by Theodore Roosevelt while he was a rancher in the Dakota Territory. Your students will have a chance to explore the cabin and learn about Roosevelt's connection to North Dakota and the Badlands. They will hear stories about Roosevelt's time in Dakota, and learn about his contributions to conservation and public lands. The video "Finding Roosevelt" and its assessment activity are excellent pre-site resources for this program. Duration is 30-45 minutes.

Life Sciences and Ecology

Prairie dogs are one of the most important species that live in the prairie ecosystem. They are active during the day and always found in their towns - making them a great place to learn about wildlife, food chains and ecosystems. Your students will have an opportunity to observe these animals and their behaviors. They will learn what a keystone species is, and why prairie dogs are important to natural prairie ecosystems. Duration is 1 hour 30 minutes.

Earth Sciences and Geology

The Badlands of North Dakota are an area of active geologic processes. Your students will hike a short trail (less than one mile) and explore landforms, see evidence of weathering and erosion, and learn about the various processes which continue to shape the landscape today. They will discover how ancient ecosystems and events contributed to the shapes and colors of today's Badlands. Duration is 2 hours.

North Unit and South Unit

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is comprised of separate units, the main two of which are separated by a distance of 70 miles. Most education programs occur in the South Unit. If staffing permits, ranger-led education programs are offered in the North Unit. Due to logistics, tours of the Maltese Cross Cabin are not available in the North Unit; timing for North Unit programs will differ from what is listed above.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645


(701) 623-4466

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