George Washington Carver National Monument held its annual summer Junior Ranger program during three consecutive Saturdays this past June.
The program allowed local youths aged 10 to 12 to get a “behind the scenes” look at what it’s like to be a park ranger, and focused on the Junior Ranger motto of “Explore, Learn, and Protect”.
This year’s program was attended by 16 participants. They learned about the organizational structure of the National Park Service, the basics of bird identification, the fundamentals of archeology, and how George Washington Carver worked with peanuts and sweet potatoes in his laboratory. They also reenacted Carver’s 1921 testimony to the U.S. Congress.
Participants also utilized iPads to give a “virtual tour” of the park, and used the park’s laboratory to teach their parents how to make peanut milk and sweet potato flour. For all of their hard work, this year’s summer Junior Rangers received certificates of accomplishment, special Junior Ranger patches, and specially made t-shirts.
This year’s program was made successful in large part thanks to the park’s volunteers. Park VIP’s assisted in leading some of this year’s activities and helped to keep all of the activities running smoothly.
The Summer Junior Rangers program is designed to connect young people with their local national park. A Call to Action Strategic Plan charts a path towards the 2016 centennial of the National Park Service. One of the plan’s action concepts, Live and Learn, aims to provide multiple ways for children to learn about the national parks and what they reveal about nature, the nation's history, and issues central to our civic life.