Petroglyph National Monument Junior Ranger Program

Please click on the following link for the official Petroglyph National Monument Junior Ranger web page:

http://www.nps.gov/petr/planyourvisit/justforkids.htm

Petroglyph National Monument offers two ways for kids to become Junior Rangers.

Park Junior Ranger Program
While visiting the Monument, children in grades K-6 can learn about Petroglyph National Monument by completing the Junior Ranger booklet. Children show their completed booklet to a park ranger and are presented with a Junior Ranger Badge and certificate.

When we visited the park, Petroglyph also had two different Junior Ranger Patches.

Web Ranger Program
The Web Ranger program offers an interactive web based program that allows kids aged 6 to 13 to learn more in depth information about the monument. This program is offered in english and spanish. You will learn about the cultural and natural events that have taken place within the monument. Upon completion of the program you will receive a certificate, sticker, pocket card and Junior Ranger Badge. Please click on the following link to go directly to the Petroglyph National Monument Web Ranger program:

http://www.nps.gov/archive/petr/webranger.htm

My family visited Petroglyph National Monument on April 10, 2009. We first went to the visitor center and the girls got their activity booklets. The activity booklet states that if you are ages 5-9, complete 5 activities or more. If you are older, do them all. Once complete, show you book to a park ranger for your Petroglyph Junior Ranger badge and certificate.

After receiving the books, I spoke to one of the rangers about which sites to visit. We really wanted to go to Rinconada Canyon, which is a 2.5 round trip hike. It also has the most Petroglyphs; however, we were warned that there has been a lot of vehicle thefts at that parking lot. Since we had just gotten into town, we had not had a chance to check into the hotel yet and all of our stuff was in the car, including laptops. We decided to visit Boca Negra Canyon instead. There are three short trails at this location. The longest trail, the Mesa Point Trail, will take about 35 minutes. There were several Petroglyphs at this location. I was again disappointed when we got to the location and saw several signs to not leave valuables in the car; however, we were able to have a visual on the car most of the time while at Boca Negra Canyon and didn’t let that affect our visit.

I would like to say this really put a damper on the trip. We planned to do a little hiking see a bunch of Petroglyphs and instead had to worry about people breaking into our car and stealing things. Maybe if there is such a problem at this site, the National Park Service needs to beef up security so that families can enjoy their vacation without having to worry about theft.

Enough of that, let me talk about the activities in the activity book. They are as follows:

1. Mapping your visit – map you visit using the legend provided, including driving, hiking, picnicking.
2. Rock Hounds Word Search
3. Who am I? – Read descriptions and match them with animal and plant pictures
4. Pueblo Pair-up – Match pictures of created art and petroglyphs with pictures of animals from the region.
5. Spanish Scramble – Translate Spanish words to English
6. Petroglyph Scavenger Hunt – Find petroglyphs and draw them.
7. Draw Your Own Meaningful Picture – Draw a picture to tell a story
8. Observation Walk – Write about what you have seen and heard while at Petroglyph and sketch something you see.
9. In Your Own Words – Write about what you learned at Petroglyph and how you will help protect the plants, animals and petroglyphs at Petroglyph National Monument.

The activity book states that:
• If you are between 5 and 9 years old, complete 5 activities or more.
• If you are 10 years and older, complete all of the activities.

As I mentioned in the Fort Union posting, this was also a newer Junior Ranger Activity book, with a copyright of 2006. Most of the activities were not age appropriate for a 6 year old. Most of the activities in the Petroglyph activity book required higher reading levels and some reading comprehension at around the third grade level or higher.

I will state it again, we were able to read and explain the activities to our daughters, but the booklets just weren’t as fun for them to complete, and I think by making them age appropriate, the child will be more interested, will learn more about the park and retain that information longer.

I don’t think I mentioned it in the Fort Union posting, but the activity books look really nice and professional. I would just like to see parks using Bandelier National Monument as an example and have several different books for children of different ages.

The girls completed their books and we returned to the visitor center. The girls turned their books into Ranger Harabin. Ranger Harabin was extremely nice. Even though the Visitor Center was busy, he spent several minutes with the girls, going over their books and talking about our visit. After that, Ranger Harabin awarded the girls their Junior Ranger Badges and Patches. As mentioned above, Petroglyph National Monument has two types of Junior Ranger Patches. Please see below pictures of both the patches and the Junior Ranger Badge. After that, Ranger Harabin posed for a photo with the girls.