Monday, January 25, 2010

Junior Ranger

This past weekend Hunter earned his status as a Junior Ranger at the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. He is now an official Blue Jay level (five to eight years old) Junior Ranger. They let him pass even though he isn't five yet.

We were given a little booklet with different activities for different ages. One of the Jay level requirements is to either hike a trail by yourself or attend a ranger-led hike or cave tour. We went on our own hike and did one of the other requirements, a scavenger hunt.

The first section was all about rocks, and we found all of them:
  • A smooth rock
  • A flat rock
  • A rock bigger than you
  • A rock as small as your fingernail
  • A rock that fits in your hand
  • A rough rock
  • A round rock
There were a couple other activities in the rock section, like finding a rock and labeling all the different colors you see in it. And drawing a picture of your favorite rock (he just drew circles). He was also supposed to give his rock a name that described it. He called it Robert.

We had a lot of fun trying to find everything on the other part of the scavenger hunt too. At one point we sat on the side of the road for five minutes just trying to see if that was really a bird singing that we heard so we could check it off of our list. We kept our eyes on the woods while we were driving trying to find a tree that had been on fire. And we were so excited when we saw a little bug flying out of our car, another check for the list. Of all the things we found were:
  • A giant sequoia cone
  • A tree that fell down
  • An insect
  • An acorn
  • A pine needle
  • A seed
  • Bark of a tree
  • A rock
  • A pine cone
  • A bird
  • An animal track (we found a deer track!)
  • A tree that has been in a fire
  • A bird singing
The things we didn't find on the list were: signs of a squirrel, a squirrel, a mushroom, a deer, a flower, and a feather. We were also asked what was the most fun thing to find and Hunter put "a cave" (we found a real bear's cave!)

While we were scavenger hunting we were also garbage hunting, as you're also supposed to bring in a bag of recyclables or garbage that you find. We found a box, an old board, some cans and bottles, and even a large metal object that appeared to have come off of a car.

He did two activity pages, one where he drew a line from a pile of objects as either "safe for bears" or "goes in a food locker" and learned the importance of keeping food where bears can't get it. The other activity was a picture where he was supposed to circle children were doing good things to help the park (like recycling, observing birds, and storing food safely) and put an x on children who were doing bad things that harm the park (like washing dishes in the river, picking flowers, or carving on trees).

He learned a lot about rocks, wildlife, and the importance of taking care of the park, leaving things where we find them, and respecting the animals, plants, and habitats for future generations.

After we completed all the activities, we went to the ranger station with our recyclables, our filled-out booklet, and Hunter was quizzed on some of the things he learned. 

Hunter was then "sworn in" as a Junior Ranger, promising to protect the park, share his experience with others, and continue to learn more for years to come. He was so proud!

He got a little plastic ranger badge, and we bought him a Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park embroidered badge to put on a jacket we want to give him for all the places he has gone. We are looking forward to exploring many more of the amazing places this beautiful country has to offer!

"The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness... and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory." 
Psalm 29:8-9
Hunter is 4 years, 10 months old

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comments!