-Our Future Park Leaders-
Junior Rangers come in all ages from 1 to 99. In truth, the program is available for children aged four years or older, and Rose Torphy became the most senior Junior Ranger when she received her badge at a young 103.
For more than 90 years, youth education initiatives like the Junior Ranger program have been integral to any park experience. This past season, Zion National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, and Pipe Spring National Monument distributed more than 30,000 Junior Ranger books to those eager to earn the coveted Junior Ranger badge.
Their adventure often begins at the Visitor Center, where children and their families stop to pick up their books. Each activity page takes the young learners through the park by completing fun assignments targeted towards elementary and middle school-aged youth. Some activities ask children to locate and learn about significant park sites, while others help them think more deeply about our natural resources and how we interact with them. It may even encourage them to pursue a career in the National Park Service.
“It’s funny now to think back, but when I was younger, I was the first-ever Junior Ranger in my home- town park, Cowpens National Battlefield. That experience was an important one that eventually found me working in the National Parks, conserving and curating some of our most cherished artifacts and art.” –Catherine Everitt, Museum Curator, Zion National Park, Bryce National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument
Once the book is complete, the real fun begins. Families return to the desk to meet with a ranger, have their Junior Rangers sworn in, and receive official badges. It is not uncommon for the entire room to pause, clap, and honor the new Junior Ranger as they get their photograph alongside their new, flat-hatted colleague.
Your sustaining donations have provided funding for ranger staff, who present interactive programs and conduct touch tables for Junior Rangers and families visiting the parks opening youthful eyes to the natural world. This year’s season is graciously underwritten by Scott Anderson and Kem Gardner. Their donation honors the Utah State Legislature and their funding of a new PBS Film and other continued investments into public lands throughout the state. At an average of $1.50 for a book and badge, even a small gift can have a lasting impact.