Roanoke Parks and Recreation Introduces Junior Ranger Program

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Beginning Monday, July 27, area youth can learn about their city and local Parks and Recreation Department through the PLAY Roanoke Junior Ranger Program. Participants will learn about Roanoke and become stewards of its natural resources through a series of activities, challenges, and questions.

To participate, parents and/or youth can get a Junior Ranger Guide from Roanoke Parks and Recreation offices located in Room 303 of the Noel C. Taylor Municipal Building at 215 Church Ave. SW. Participants can earn “stars” by completing activities in the guide. Activities include things like identifying plants and animals, learning about the principals of Leave No Trace, and visiting their local parks and trails. Once they earn enough stars, youth can turn in their booklet, answer some questions, and receive their certificate and a Junior Ranger badge.

When asked what inspired PLAY Roanoke to develop this program, Recreation Manager Patrick Boas said it was modeled after the National Parks Service’s program. “While traveling to national parks with my family, this program took once uninterested three, nine, and 12-year-olds, and created engaged and excited park patrons. I wanted to bring that to Roanoke.”

With July being Park and Recreation Month and activities for family and youth at a minimum, Boas felt now was the time to launch this program. “With the current pandemic, this couldn’t have come at a better time,” Boas said. “This free activity is accessible to anyone who wants to participate and, hopefully, encourages a generation of young Roanokers to engage with their parks and love where they live.”

Other than the Treasurer and Commissioner of the Revenue, City department offices are open to the public by appointment only. To schedule a time to pick up a Guide from the Roanoke Parks and Recreation Office, call 853-2236 Monday-Friday, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.