Saguaro National Park Junior Ranger Program

At the time of this writing, Saguaro National Park did not have a link to their Junior Ranger Program, but I was able to locate a brochure for their Junior Ranger Program. Please click on the following link to view the brochure:

http://www.juniorranger.us/SaguaroJuniorRanger.pdf

Two Junior Ranger Activity Booklets are offered at Saguaro National Park. The booklets are designed for children between the ages of 5 and 12 years old.

There is a 12 page booklet that offers a variety of fun activities with little reading and writing required. Most activities require drawing lines or pictures and are fairly easy to complete.

There is a 20 page booklet that requires extensive reading and writing as well as some analytical thinking skills. Some of the activities in this booklet are challenging.

Saguaro National Park also loans out a discovery pack that includes: 2 pens, 2 pencils, 1 magnifying glass, 1 pencil sharpener, 1 set of colored pencils, 1 ruler, 8 field guides, 1 clipboard, and 1 pair of binoculars.

The booklets can be be picked up at the visitor center. There is no fee for the program. Once the booklet is complete the Junior Ranger will receive a Saguaro National Park Badge and certificate. Saguaro National Park also has a Junior Ranger Patch, but we had to ask for it. I can’t remember, but I think there was also a small fee for the patch.

Both my 6 year old and my 4 year old daughters completed the 12 page booklet.

In this blog, I will discuss the requirements for completing the 12 page booklet.

The activity booklet had 9 activities to complete and are as follows:

1. Desert Scavenger Hunt – check off items you find in the park
2. Sonoran Desert Plants – identify desert plants
3. Animal Sign – draw a line from the animal to the sign that it left behind
4. Bird identification – identify birds. A field guide from the discovery pack was useful for this exercise.
5. The Hohokam People – draw your own petroglyph
6. Sonoran desert Plants – word puzzle search
7. Find the Critters – find desert animals hidden in a picture and color them
8. Desert Art – draw your favorite desert plant and animal
9. Answer questions about what is ok for park visitors to do

The 12 page booklet was very age appropriate for my 6 year old daughter. My 4 year old needed a little help with identifying plants, identifying birds and the word search.

We visited Saguaro National Park on April 5, 2009. The girls received their activity books from Ranger Curt Treichel. We first drove around the one-way loop and then stopped at the trail head for the Freeman Homestead Trail. We hiked that trail, which was a 1 mile round trip hike with little elevation gain. During our hike, we saw a Gila Monster. I kept encouraging my wife to get closer to take a picture and later learned that they are a venomous lizard. No wonder see stayed away from it.

There was a picnic area fairly close to the trail head. After we finished our hike, we went to the picnic area, ate lunch and then had the girls complete their activity booklets.

After the books were complete, we returned to the visitor center and the girls turned them into Ranger Treichel. Prior to going over the books, Ranger Treichel asked us what our time frame was and how much time he could spend with the girls. He spent at least 15 minutes, more like 20 or 30 minutes with them, going over their answers and also informing us the difference between a venomous creature and a poisonous creature. Ranger Treichel was very kid friendly and it appeared that he really enjoyed going over the program with them. When the girls had satisfactorily answered his questions, he had them take the Junior Ranger Pledge and presented them with a badge and certificate. The girls then took a picture with Ranger Treichel. After that I inquired about the Junior Ranger Patch. Please see below for a scanned image of the badge and certificate.