Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Junior Ranger Program

lease click on the following link for the official Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Junior Ranger web page:

http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/jrranger.htm

A copy of the the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Junior Ranger Handbook can be downloaded from the following link:

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

My family visited Hawai’i Volcanoes on December 20, 2009. As mentioned before, my seven year old daughter, Alyssa, was completing the Hawai’i Island National Parks Junior Ranger Adventure Book, so I will not be discussing the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Junior Ranger Handbook. 

The activities for the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park made you explore the park. After we watched a park video, we attended a program by Volunteer George Jensen. He talked about “How it all started.” It was a very informative program. One of the activities included a visit to Echo Crater. Even though it was windy and rainy, the girls had fun listening to their echos.

I was quite disappointed we did not get to see any lava. I visited the park in 2003. During that visit, the lava was flowing through the park and I was able to get within a few feet of flowing lava. During this visit, the lava was flowing on private land and the closest you could get was about 1/2 mile and because of a storm, the viewing area was closed on the day of our visit.

The Junior Ranger program and Hawai’i Volcanoes is for children 7 to 12. While at the the visitor center, I overheard a visitor ask if their teenager could complete the program. Prior to that I had inquired about a program for my five year old. I was told that they only had a program for children 7 to 12 years old and that we would need to come back when she was older. The Ranger also discouraged the teenager from completing the program as well.

To me, this is not acceptable. For one, a visit to Hawai’i may be a once in a life time visit. Second, whether you are five, fifteen or thirty-five, you can always learn something. Being that Hawai’i Volcanoes is the probably the most visited NPS site on Hawai’i Island, I would fully expect the park to have Junior Rangers programs for children of all ages. 

Now that I got that out. Even though it was raining, we enjoyed our trip to Hawai’i Volcanoes. After completing the Hawai’i Volcanoes section of the Adventure Book, Alyssa received a Hawai’i Volcanoes Badge and a Hawai’i Island National Parks Junior Ranger Adventure Patch. I originally thought the patch was a Hawai’i Volcanoes Patch, but later found out that Hawai’i Volcanoes does not have their own distinctive patch. I have attached photos of both the badge and patch below.