Among Yosemite’s most popular interpretive programs, the Junior Ranger program encourages outdoor exploration, a love of national parks and a healthy lifestyle from an early age. Each year, tens of thousands of children earn their one-of-a-kind wooden Junior Ranger badge by participating in ranger-led nature walks and completing environmental-activity workbooks.

With your support in 2015, more than 24,000 young visitors benefited from Junior Ranger programming in Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows and Wawona, learning about wildlife, plants, park history and more. Through special workbooks and ranger-led programs focused on Preventive Search and Rescue (PSAR), kids learned key safety tips and practiced new skills, such as reading a map or packing for a hike. New “pop-up” Junior Ranger programs outside the Valley Visitor Center in late summer reached as many as 100 young visitors per hour, and gave youth who might miss the scheduled programs a chance to deepen their connection to the park through a short, fun lesson.

At the end of the season, the park’s Junior Ranger team shared a story about a long-time junior ranger who applied her learnings from the program to participate in another Youth in Yosemite experience. As they said, she and other junior rangers are “growing up and maturing into a bigger piece of Yosemite National Park’s stewardship story.”

Your support allowed thousands of children, and their families, to learn about nature and stewardship in an inspiring setting.

Completed in partnership with Yosemite National Park.

Andy Fristesnky

Branch Chief of Field Interpretation

Project Notes

Each year, we have had dramatic increases in the number of children that have left Yosemite National Park as Junior Rangers, proudly wearing their new badge. We are constantly evaluating and improving our junior ranger programs to provide the most effective opportunities for young visitors to learn about and experience Yosemite’s incredible resources.