YOSEMITE — Yosemite National Park Rangers have sworn in 22,600 Junior Rangers so far this year, setting a record for the most number of Junior Rangers in a year.
Each of these young people completed their duties, either by attending a Junior Ranger program or completing a booklet, and took an oath to continue to “Explore, Learn, and Protect” Yosemite National Park. They then received a Junior Ranger badge.
The Junior Ranger Program in Yosemite aims to engage children as stewards for one of America’s most beloved national parks.
The origins of the program date back to 1930 with the Junior Ranger Nature School. An article in Yosemite Nature Notes, published in June 1937, states, “The 1936 summer meeting of the Yosemite Junior Nature School showed an increase in the numbers… with a total enrollment of 410 children.”
The Junior Ranger Program is one of many educational programs in Yosemite National Park designed to reach out to young people to create the next generation of park stewards. Yosemite partners with the University of California at Merced and NatureBridge on many innovative and groundbreaking programs. Many of these programs are designed to reach out to young people with diverse backgrounds in underserved communities who have never had the opportunity to visit Yosemite National Park.
These programs include Adventure Risk Challenge, Yosemite Leadership Program Summer Internship, and Parks as Classroom. The park also offers distance learning programs utilizing video conference technology for schools that are unable to arrange a field trip to the park.
The National Park Service will celebrate its 100th Anniversary in 2016. The Centennial focuses on youth and connecting new visitors to national parks. Yosemite National Park joins other parks across the country in reaching out to the next generation of park stewards.
Yosemite National Park appreciates the generous support from Yosemite Conservancy, which provides funding for the Junior Ranger program and several of the park’s other educational programs.
To learn more about how your child can become a Junior Ranger, click here.