The coolest memory about our visit to Zion National Park in May 2014 is that the boys were able to receive their first Junior Ranger badge! Although they completed the program at Arches, we weren’t able to get the hardware because the park closed before we finished the requirements!
The Junior Ranger Program allows the kids to search the park for a variety of aspects that are unique to that particular area. It makes learning fun by dividing up the activities into games. Part of the purpose of the program is to teach children how to care for the parks, nature, and animals. In each of the park programs that we’ve done so far, the boys had to pick up trash.
Here is a list of some of the things the boys did to earn this patch!
1. Animal Bingo — there was a list of animals which were organized bingo-style on the booklet. The boys had to try to find four in a row. The hero of this challenge was Ty! Because he’s so short, he was able to quickly spot our missing animal–a lizard! He was really proud of that moment.
2. Clean Trash — I was really surprised to find so much litter on these grounds — especially cigarettes! Each person had to collect five different types of litter. Cheaters could go right around the trash bins and pick up the trash that people carelessly drop near the trash, instead of in the trash. You’ll be proud to know that we searched for the trash in hard-to-reach places!
3. Poop findings — one of the more interesting activities that we did was finding scat. Unfortunately, we didn’t find nothing out of the ordinary. It was mostly deer poop!
4. Draw a patch — each of us also had the opportunity to design and draw our very own Zion National Park patch. Other parks did something similar — design a new park sign, etc. It was a creative way to get the kids thinking about nature, and reflecting on the parts that are most meaningful to them about the park.