After Arizona Serve AmeriCorps of Prescott College member, Sean Underhill, visited local Prescott parks with his family, he became concerned about the trash and broken glass on public recreational grounds which was unsightly and unsafe. In definite AmeriCorps fashion, Underhill’s response was to create a free Junior Ranger Program under the auspices of the Prescott Recreation Services division and in particular, partnering with the Community Nature Center (CNC) of Prescott.
“Our goal is to create future stewards of our open spaces,” said Underhill who is also a Park Ranger for Prescott Recreation Services. “The target age range for this program is 6-12, but all ages are welcome to participate and to become stewards of our parks and open spaces. Also, we have added the Junior Ranger Program to our free Nature Niño’s Program, which integrates new topics and leadership opportunities for local and visiting youth,” he continued.
The “Appreciate AZ Leave No Trace” Principles are lessons taught to plan ahead and prepare to enjoy recreational lands, stick to the trails, respect wildlife, share the outdoors, trash your trash, leave what you find, and be careful with fire. These principles are integrated throughout the Junior Ranger Program.
The free Prescott Junior Ranger Program includes a downloadable guidebook that maps all of Prescott’s historic sites and outdoor recreational spaces, while teaching participants proper outdoor ethics. This guidebook will be available in print at selections locations with a special “passport” to Prescott’s museums and local attractions. Participants who visit at lease seven sites and take the “Appreciate AZ” “Leave No Trace” Pledge will earn a Prescott Junior Ranger Badge, seen being held by the Prescott Quail in the program logo.
The Junior Ranger Program downloadable guidebook has a special CNC map and city passport to highlight the “Stick to the Trails” instructions for public land lovers and citizens are encouraged to visit the CNC to experience the trails there and beauty of the facilities while earning “stamps” for their passport section of their guidebooks.
Junior Ranger Program passport sites include Hotshots Learning & Tribute Center, Highlands Center for Natural History, Western Heritage Center, USFS Bradshaw Ranger Station, Museum of Indigenous People, Prescott Library Youth Services, Prescott Chamber of Commerce, CoP Recreation Services Department, Peregrine Book Company, Findlay Subaru (Jr. Ranger Play Area), Embry-Riddle Planetarium/Library, the Hike Shack, Nature Niño’s Events, The Lookout, CNC, and Phippen Art Museum.
Prescott Library’s Youth Services Summer Reading Program, Prescott’s Recreation Services Department and the Prescott Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center will have printed copies of the Junior Ranger Program Guidebook available for residents.
To download your free copy of the Prescott Junior Ranger Guidebook, visit the Prescott Junior Ranger/Nature Niño’s webpage online at Prescott Junior Ranger Guidebook and Nature Ninos