Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument Junior Ranger Program

Please click on the following link for the official Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument Junior Ranger web page:

http://www.nps.gov/sapu/forkids/index.htm

Before I start this Blog, I would like to comment on a couple of the people we met while visiting Salinas Pueblo Missions.

We first met Ranger Bob DeRemer at the Abó site. Ranger DeRemer spent several minutes with us and provided us with a lot of information about the site. Then after we left his site, he called the Visitor Center and the Gran Quivira and Quarai site to let them know we were coming. When we arrived at the other sites, they were expecting us and greeted us with enthusiasm.

We met Park Guide Lee Roy Nix at the Gran Quivira site. Lee Roy directed us to the site and we went off to explore. When we returned to the Visitor Center, Lee Roy asked the girls if they wanted to learn how the sites were excavated. At the Visitor Center, they have several working stations where they bury artifacts for students, who are on field trips, to excavate and identify for a school project. While we were walking around Gran Quivira, Lee Roy planted some objects for the girls to discover. He spent a considerable amount of time “digging” through the dirt with the girls, locating several artifacts. After our trip, the girls stated that that was one of their favorite things they did that week.

Thank you Bob and Lee Roy for making it a memorable trip.

We visited Salinas Pueblo Missions on April 7, 2009. The Junior Ranger page for Salinas Pueblo Missions does not have a recommend age, but after reviewing the booklets, I knew that my four year old daughter would not be able to complete the program.

During our visit, Salinas Pueblo Missions had a separate booklet for each site. When you completed one booklet, you received a Junior Ranger badge and a ribbon from that site. When you completed the other sites, you received a ribbon from that site. The ribbons represent the uniform worn by Park Rangers. Please see below for a scanned image of the badge and ribbons.

During our visit, I was informed that Salinas Pueblo Missions was in the process of re-writing their Junior Ranger program. Which I am happy to hear. The booklets that we received at the the three sites were definitely borderline age appropriate for my six year old daughter. They all had a word search puzzle. Each booklet also had a story which discussed the history of the site. The Junior Ranger then answered approximately ten questions from the story. Reading comprehension is not for six year olds. With a little help from mom and dad, she was able to answer the questions. She had no problem with the word search.

The sites were amazing. I can’t imagine how long it took to excavate each site. We were able to walk through the churches and pueblos. Once again, I learned something that K-12 failed to teach me. What a great experience.

I do hope that Salinas Pueblo Missions re-writes their Junior Program. Like I discussed in a posting in Junior Ranger Basics, I hope they create books that have curriculum that is age appropriate for several ages. I would also like to see a patch developed for each site. I think that earning a patch would be much more rewarding for the Junior Ranger.