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12 Mar 2020
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Smoky Mountain National Park

Have you ever watched a program about wild animals or a nature program and noticed someone who works in a National Park and thought to yourself, “Wow, I’d love to have that person’s job”?  Well now you can.  Become a part of the Junior Ranger program and learn all about the National Park system and how it operates.  You will learn about the wildlife, Plant life, history, conservation and more.

To become a Junior Ranger you must be between the ages of 5 and 12.  You need to either order the Junior Ranger booklet online or pick it up at any visitor’s center, Cades Cove or Elkmont campgrounds.  The cost of the booklet is $2.50.  You need to complete all the activities in the booklet, then return to the visitor’s center and speak with one of the Park Rangers.  At that time you will be presented with your Junior Ranger Badge for completing all the activities. This can be done year round.

During certain times of year the park will host Ranger-led programs with in depth activities for the Junior Ranger program, such a teaching the dying art of Blacksmithing.  You will participate as the Blacksmith casts a Dinner Bell or some other useful object.  These programs occur at specified times in the Spring, Summer and Fall and take place at Cades Cove or Mingus Mill in the National Park.

Many young people are unable to attend, but still have a great interest in wildlife and our National Park system.  Get your parent’s permission to online and check out the Web Ranger program.  Simply go onto www.NPS.gov and search for the Web Ranger program.  This is an online Ranger program that leads you through games and activities to further your knowledge about subjects such as: Animals, People, History, Nature, Puzzles, Science and Parks.  There are varied skill levels for all activities based on how easy or hard you want to challenge yourself.  You start off by registering and then get to design your very own Ranger Station.  You then choose the category you want to explore and can select from many, many online games while you are learning about our National Parks, Historic Sites and National Monuments.

So if one day you want to become a Ranger in the National Park system this might be the first step.  Even if you never have a job like that you will have some fun and learn a lot about the world around you.