Junior Ranger Program offered across state, at Reelfoot Lake
Posted: Friday, May 17, 2013 5:00 pm
Do you know a child, age 6 to 14, who loves fun and adventure, exploring and discovering nature’s secrets and spending time outdoors? The Tennessee State Parks’ Junior Ranger Program offers all of these, along with excellent educational opportunities, designed to foster a love of nature and to encourage a healthy lifestyle.
There are two ways to become an official Tennessee State Parks’ Junior Ranger. Interested kids ages 6-14 may attend a Junior Ranger Camp, slated for June and July at various parks throughout the state; or complete a series of activities found in the Junior Ranger Adventure Guide. The sign-up process is easy. To get started, sign up for a Junior Ranger Camp by contacting the office of participating state parks. Free Junior Ranger Adventure Guides are available at any state park. To download a copy of the Adventure Guide or to find upcoming Junior Ranger Camps in your area, visit www.tnstateparks.com/junior_ranger.
The state parks’ Junior Ranger Program is designed with flexibility in mind so that participants can choose their own path and set their own pace. Junior Rangers, along with their families, can enjoy exploring parks, touring visitor centers, attending park programs, hiking the trails and experiencing all the fun and exciting adventures Tennessee’s great state parks have to offer.
“Tennessee State Parks’ Junior Ranger Program provides unique opportunities for children to learn about the great outdoors in a fun environment,” said TDEC Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill. “We put a lot of thought and effort into all of our programs and activities, while offering an incredible value to parents looking for quality, summer activities.”
The Junior Ranger Adventure Guide is divided into four steps. Each step covers different topics and offers a selection of fun, hands-on activities. Upon completion of each activity, the child gets one step closer to becoming a Junior Ranger. Topics in the initial two steps include safety, history, plants, wildlife, astronomy and water. Step three involves the creation of a stewardship project. In step four, the adventure guide is taken to the park ranger or park office. Upon completion of the program, participants will take the Junior Ranger pledge, receive a badge and are sworn in as official Tennessee State Parks’ Junior Rangers.
Locally, Reelfoot Lake State Park will host a Junior Ranger Camp June 3-7 for ages 6 to 12. Junior Rangers will spend the week learning about local wildlife, water quality and safety, first aid and how to start a fire and build a shelter.
The week-long camp will be held from 1-4:30 p.m. each day. Activities will include:
• June 3: Welcome and wildlife day — Pelts, eagles, reptiles and a boardwalk hike
• June 4: Boating safety — Water safety and a pontoon boat ride
• June 5: Survival day — Fire starting, shelter building and first aid
• June 6: Duck commander day — Waterfowl identification, duck calling and a duck decoy painting contest
• June 7: Water day — Water quality and fishing
Campers will need comfortable, sturdy footwear for each day’s activities. All Junior Rangers should apply sunscreen before arrival at the day camp each day and will need to bring additional sunscreen, daily water and snacks, a hat or cap and a small backpack.
The June camp is open to the first 40 applicants. To register for the camp, contact park manager Alisha Weber at Alisha.Weber@tn.gov or at (731) 253-8003.
Published in The Messenger 5.17.13