Yosemite National Park

Please click on the following link for the official Yosemite National Park Junior Ranger link:

Yosemite National Park Junior Ranger Page

According to the Yosemite National Park, June 30 – August 3, 2010 Guide, children ages 3 and up can become a Junior Ranger and earn a badge by completing an activity page from the guide. To accomplish this task, the Junior Ranger needs to do the following:

1. Pick a trail to walk.
2. Record what you see, hear, smell and touch on the walk.
3. Draw a picture of something you see on the trail.
4. If you see trash, pick it up.
5. Go to a ranger led program and write something you learned.
6. Why do people work to protect national parks?
7. Look for wildlife.

When you have completed the activity page, take it to the visitor center to receive your badge.

Yosemite National Park Junior Ranger
Yosemite National Park Junior Ranger

Yosemite National Park has two handbooks, where you can become a Junior Ranger or a Little Cub.

Be a Junior Ranger (ages 7 – 13): You can become a Yosemite Junior Ranger by purchasing a self-guided booklet. This booklet is sold for $3.50 plus tax at the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center, Nature Center at Happy Isles, and Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center , and Wawona and Big Oak Flat Information Stations. In order to earn a Junior Ranger patch, the booklet must be completed, a bag of trash collected, and a guided program attended.

Be a Little Cub (ages 3-6): Little Cubs is a self-guided booklet that encourages young visitors and their families to discover Yosemite’s wonders and to earn a Little Cubs button. This booklet is sold for $3 plus tax in the Nature Center at Happy Isles,Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Centers, and Wawona and Big Oak Flat Information Stations.

Both booklets can also be purchased at the Yosemite Association store at http://www.yosemite.org/cat-18-1-62/Junior_Ranger.htm. Other Junior Ranger items like this pin can also be purchased.

Yosemite National Park Junior Ranger pin
Yosemite National Park Junior Ranger Pin

When you have completed the requirements of either book, take it to the visitor center to receive a Yosemite National Park Junior Ranger badge and Junior Ranger patch or Little Cub Button.

My family regularly visits Yosemite National Park; however, we had been waiting to complete the Junior Ranger Program with some friends. Alyssa completed the Junior Ranger Handbook with her friend Elliot and Samantha completed the Little Cub Handbook with her friend Annika on July 10, 2010. After completing the requirements of the handbook, they took them to the visitor center in Yosemite Valley. The visitor center was packed. We had to wait about 20 or 30 minutes for a ranger. Even though we had to wait, I thought it was important that when a visitor got to the counter, the ranger or volunteer spent quality time with each person, not rushing to get to the next person in line. Volunteer Theresa Ho reviewed our four handbooks. She spent time with each child and asked them questions about what they learned, then had them all take the Junior Ranger pledge together. Everyone received a Junior Ranger badge and Junior Ranger patch. I am not sure why Samantha and Annika did not receive a Little Cub Button, but they were really happy about getting the patch (and so was I), so I didn’t inquire about the button.

Yosemite National Park Junior Ranger Patch
Yosemite National Park Junior Ranger

According to the Summer Yosemite Guide, Yosemite National Park offers a Ranger led Junior Ranger walk everyday in the park. Different topics during the walk include bears, geology, water, trees, climate change, wildlife and Ahwahneechee. I looked at a past winter guide and did not see any Ranger led Junior Ranger programs.

We were unable to attend the Ranger led Junior Ranger walk on the day we visited as we had preplanned to hike to the top of Nevada Falls, via the Mist Trail. The kids did a fantastic job hiking to the top. Vernal Falls was still raging and there was mist everywhere creating beautiful rainbows. We took a short snack break at the top of Vernal Falls and continued on. When we reached the top of Nevada Falls, we ate lunch and had the kids complete their handbooks. We then returned to the Yosemite Valley via the John Muir Trail.

One of the requirements of the handbook is to attend a ranger led program. We almost didn’t make it, but we went to the Yosemite Museum, where Volunteer Phil Johnson talked to the kids about how the Native Americans made arrow heads from obsidian. He further discussed making arrows and discussed the different responsibilities men and women had. It was a very informative program and Mr. Johnson did a wonderful job talking and interacting with the children.

This was a really fun trip. I hope to take Alyssa and Samantha back to attend some of the Ranger led walks. JR Stanley also accompanied us on the trip and pictures will be posted on JR Stanley’s webpage.

 

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