I have always loved the National parks. When I was 10 years old, I completed my first Junior Ranger program (that I remember) at Capulin Volcano in New Mexico. It was on my first cross country road trip. taking my sister to Wisconsin through Wyoming and South Dakota. Because those states and national parks are “on the way”. Two years later I am still doing Junior Ranger programs for my history and science classes as a homeschooler.
What is a Junior Ranger? According to the NPS or National park service a- Junior Ranger program is an activity based program conducted in almost all parks, and some Junior Ranger programs are national. Many national parks offer young visitors the opportunity to join the National Park Service "family" as Junior Rangers. Interested youth complete a series of activities during a park visit, share their answers with a park ranger, and receive an official Junior Ranger patch or badge and Junior Ranger certificate. Junior Ranger programs are my favorite thing to do on any vacation, I even went to four National parks on my trip to Disney World.
Junior Ranger programs can be done even when I am not at the site, because I can send them to the park and they will send me back my badge and certificate.
This year for my Girl Scout Silver Award, I created the Junior Ranger program for the newest Texas National Monument, WACO MAMMOTH NATIONAL MONUMENT. The Silver Award is the highest award a Cadette Girl Scout can earn. You earn it by creating a Take Action project with at least 50 hours of time. By creating the Junior Ranger Program with Waco Mammoth National Monument, I hope to inspire kids to go to more national parks, to earn their Junior Ranger badges, To get outside and to learn more about nature and the National Park service.
There are many ways to protect the parks, and the biggest one is to know the history. national parks started March 1, 1872 when Yellowstone National Park was founded by congress. New ones were founded but not all of them were treated the same way, because there were no rules at the time, that is when the National Park service was created, On August 25, 1916 (100 years ago), President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service, a new federal Department of the Interior responsible for protecting the 35 national parks and monuments then managed by the department and those yet to be established. Every site has their own history and it is great to learn how they became a part of the NPS system. We have 16 in the state of Texas.
Waco Mammoth National Monument has tried to become a national park 2 times, once in 2010 once in 2012, but was never completed, to become a national park, seashore, forest or river, you have to go through a long progress of going through congress and the senate house and lots more, to become a national monument the acting president has to sign a form and agree, so on July 10, 2015, President Barack Obama made Waco Mammoth a national monument.
On a spring day in 1978, Paul Barron and Eddie Bufkin embarked on a search for arrowheads and fossils near the Bosque River. To their surprise, the men stumbled upon a large bone. Recognizing the unusual nature of the find, they removed the bone and took it to Baylor University's Strecker Museum for examination. Museum staff said the find was a femur bone from a Columbian mammoth . This now extinct species lived during the southern Ice Age. Between 1978 and 1990, the fossil remains of 16 Columbian mammoths were discovered. Their efforts uncovered a nursery herd that appears to have died together in a single flash flood. Between 1990 and 1997, six additional mammoths were found, including a large male. Crews also uncovered the remains of a Western camel, and the tooth of a juvenile saber-toothed cat, which was found next to an unidentified animal. They kept it private until they decided to make it a public park in 2009.
while working on my junior ranger program I knew I wanted to promote the Scout Ranger Patch - so that more Girl and Boy Scout troops and families would get out and visit the parks. These programs have been around - but, not everyone knows about them - even a lot of the parks didn’t know about them. To earn the patch, complete 10 hours of education activities and/or volunteer service at one or several national park, monument, historic site, sea shore or river.
I now want to be a Park Ranger when I grow up. Every Wednesday afternoon I visit Waco Mammoth and see what a ranger does when they are at work, they lead tours, sort stuff for the gift shop, teach school groups, and lots more.
Thank you for taking the time to listen, I am Marie Young a senior junior ranger with 48 junior rangers.