WFTA Junior Ranger Program Marks One-Year Anniversary
Last year, Weston Forest & Trail Association (WFTA) launched the Junior Ranger program, which encourages young people to get out and about in Weston’s Conservation woods, and also learn about the flora and fauna of our home town.
After the success of an animal and plant scavenger hunt created by WFTA in April 2020, the 501c3 organization realized that more people than ever were getting out on the trails during the pandemic. And many of them were kids who hadn’t explored yet the 100 miles of trails that Weston proudly caretakes.
“I had been wanting to encourage more kids to get outside for a long time,” said WFTA’s Stewardship Vice President Kristin Barbieri (oh, okay that’s me). “While I have what has been referred to by trail organizations as an ‘outdoor pedigree’ from growing up hiking every weekend in the Hudson River valley, most kids do not have the same experience. I wanted to change that for local kids by creating an activity-based program that could be done by kids and parents together.”
Junior Rangers need to complete a series of activities and fill out a notebook with their answers. After the program director receives the completed signature page, the Junior Rangers receive an official pin and certificate. Junior Rangers are typically between the ages of 4 to 11, although people of all ages can participate. Kids aged 8+ get an extra challenge with Ranger Plus.
The first two Junior Rangers, Colin and Quinn Gifford, were aged 8 and 5 when they completed their notebooks last September. Since then eleven other Junior Rangers became official, the youngest is three years old, and the oldest was ten at the time of “graduation.” Twelve of the thirteen rangers are from Weston; there is one Junior Ranger from Sudbury.
“These kids should all be very proud of their accomplishment–this program is not easy, ” said Barbieri. “I’m looking forward to some cooler autumn weather which hopefully will bring us some more Junior Rangers.”
You can find the Junior Ranger Notebook here. Get outside!
Weston Forest & Trail Association was formed in 1955 to protect and enhance Weston’s treasured open space resources for everyone’s enjoyment. Today WFTA owns more than 200 acres of conservation land and easements and maintain more than 100 miles of trails in the Town of Weston. You can find out more at http://www.westonforesttrail.org.