GREAT FALLS — On Saturday, June 26th, at Giant Springs State Park, the 2021 Summer Junior Ranger Program or children ages 8 to 12 began.
The program is a series of several hands-on learning events, each with a different topic, and related activities and games.
The programs are an hour and a half long each and will be held every other Saturday from June 26th through August 7th.
“During the program we talk about different features of the park, different features of recreation, and of course some of the natural processes that occur in our ecosystem,” said AmeriCorps member Kelly Hines.
Saturday's event - called the Missouri River Rats Program - taught the participants about all the aquatic species that can be found in the park, and with the help of a guest speaker, learned the responsibility of keeping a clean and healthy environment for those species. They learned the ins and outs of a boat inspection and how AIS can travel from one body of water to another.
The next three programs in the series will cover land stewardship, the history of the Giant Springs, and navigating trails through tools and tracking that the famous explorers Lewis and Clark used.
Rangers who attend two of the programs will be awarded with a Junior Ranger Badge, and those who attend four sessions, either at Giant Springs State Park, or at the First People’s Buffalo Jump State Park will get to attend a special campfire celebration at Giant Springs State Park.
“It’s a really big passion of mine to get to work and do these Junior Ranger Programs,” said Hines. “I’ve done several throughout my time in this field and it gets more and more exciting every time. Teaching about new environments, engaging with kids in the community, and seeing them really learn how to enjoy their state parks is what I love.”
All the Junior Ranger Program events this summer are free to attend, but are limited to 20 participants each.
You can register by calling the Ranger Station at Giant Springs State Park at 406-727-1212 or clicking here.