The Junior Ranger program gives kids a chance to explore a state park. By becoming a Junior Ranger, 6-12 year old visitors will get involved with plants, animals and park protection. The Junior Ranger program is run at most state park campgrounds by park staff and hosts. Be careful, though. Rumor has it that being a Junior Ranger is so much fun, grown men and women have been masquerading as kids to get in. We may have to start asking for ID.
Be a Junior Ranger brochure
Junior Ranger Duties
After young visitors enroll in the program, they receive a Junior Ranger Passport. By completing activities, they receive passport stamps. When they fill their passport with stamps, the Junior Rangers receive awards. Activities include:
- Discover a park "secret"
- Attend a park program and learn about the environment
- Find and identify three special plants or animals
- Keep your part of the park clean
- Learn how to be safe
A passport is available at selected state parks from the Park Host or Park staff.
Aside from the deep personal satisfaction every Junior Ranger feels after filling a passport page with stamps, there's the cool stuff that goes with it.
Each time Junior Rangers complete an activity, their passports will be stamped by a Park Host or other staff. When the first page has at least four stamps, the young visitor shows the passport to park staff person and receives:
- The Junior Ranger badge
- The secret Junior Ranger greeting
- On the next camping trip, the Junior Ranger can complete another activity page. On the third trip, the youth can finish the last activity page and show the finished passport to park staff to get a Junior Ranger patch and a special certificate signed by J.R. Beaver
Who's J.R. Beaver?
This is the mascot of the Junior Ranger Program. J.R. helps the children through their duties and “talks” to them about natural resources. J.R. keeps pretty busy. You can see him at the State Fair, and at local events and parades, sometimes. He has his own newsletter, too. Call your local park office about the possibility of a J.R. appearance in your neck of the woods.
Where are the programs offered?
Junior Ranger programs are offered at most campgrounds that have staff or hosts on hand. Some day-use parks also offer the program. Here is a complete list of parks that offer J.R. programming. Also, go to the events calendar and search for J.R. programs by selecting "For Kids" under the event category menu.