Becoming a Junior Ranger with the National Park Service is a fun draw for families with young children. We’ve learned that it takes more than one afternoon to achieve.
History, good citizenship, ecology and more goes into the workbook of activities. Earning a Junior Ranger badge even requires picking up a bag of trash at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The volunteer we met on the mountain trail was embarrassed to let me show it in the photo, but I was most impressed that this trail veteran was collecting trash when we met him this summer. It was a great example of stewardship for the kids to see.
Later at the visitor center, they earned points by attending an educational program about staying safely away from bears. Before we earn our badge, we’ll be taking gloves along for a trash-collecting hike in the Smokies. Here’s a list of National Parks that offer Junior Ranger programs.