ALASKA – Hermon Hutchins Elementary Summer School in Valdez, Alaska, recently added something new to their summer school curriculum: the newly designed Chugach National Forest Junior Ranger program. students completed the program during school hours by researching and playing games. On the final day of their summer school, the students brought their completed booklets to the Crooked Creek Information Site to receive their Junior Ranger badge.
Other students and families, not affiliated with the summer school program, also completed the Junior Ranger booklet and received their badges as well. In all, over 20 badges have been earned at Crooked Creek Information Site since the site opened on Memorial Day weekend.
The Chugach National Forest Junior Ranger booklets are part of the National Junior Ranger Program which seeks to inspire youth to embrace a life-long relationship with public lands and encourages stewardship by fostering curiosity and motivating children to explore the natural and cultural world. As part of the Chugach National Forest’s Every Kid Outdoors’ efforts, the forest recently developed two new Junior Ranger booklets: The Chugach National Forest Jr. Ranger Field Notebook and the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center Jr. Ranger Field Notebook complementing the Center’s education programs and Portage Valley.
Designed to get kids and their families exploring and learning about the national forest, the 16-page field notebooks are packed with fun facts about the Chugach National Forest. They are full of engaging educational activities that encourage visitors of all ages to use all their senses to observe the natural world around them.
The booklets are proving to be a popular item at the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center and nearly 200 youth have officially received their Junior Ranger badges since the beginning of the summer. This past spring, the Anchorage Outdoor School, an overnight residential program developed in partnership with the Anchorage School District, used the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center Jr Ranger Field Notebook to familiarize participants with the forest. The Chugach National Forest Junior Ranger Program is certainly a big hit with kids of all ages.