Junior Rangers enjoy adventures at Giant Springs State Park

Posted at 7:36 PM, Aug 19, 2023

The Junior Ranger program is for kids ages 5 and up to explore, learn, and protect parks. They learn about state parks, helpful tools and how to build relationships with nature.

Saturday morning, the Junior Rangers met at Giant Springs State Park for the “Orienteering & Navigation Basics” program. The kids learned about how to use compasses and maps, what purpose they serve and the importance of knowing how to use those tools.

Seasonal recreation technician, Wes Peterson, hosted the program on Saturday.

“As a kid, I did a little bit of compass work in elementary school, and I thought that would be a lot of fun and I also thought about the idea of a treasure hunt,” said Peterson. “I thought about fifth grade self and how excited I would be to run around the park to find clues to a treasure.”

Peterson said not only is it important for kids to get out into nature and away from technology, but also that here in Montana we have ample opportunity to do that with so much nature at our fingertips.

“I think it's really important for kids to get out in the parks because it gets them away from the ease of using technology,” said Peterson. “They might be in a situation in the future where we live in a remote place and there's no access to technology, so with a map and a compass, they can hopefully find where they're going.”

Peterson is also a teacher here in Great Falls and simply enjoys working with and teaching kids, so taking over this Junior Rangers program was a no-brainer.

“I have enjoyed being in nature as a as a kid and as an adult, so teaching younger people how to use the resources I think is a really important thing for kids to know,” said Peterson.

To learn more about the Junior Rangers program, click here.