Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Joslyn

The outdoors and wildlife have been a part of Joslyn’s life from a young age. At 11-years-old, she enjoys hiking, biking, fishing, and helping the environment. She wants to encourage other kids to have less screen time and more green time!

Stay tuned to her social media to keep updated on fun activities at state parks in the Midwest. She will be scouting out where the best places to hike, go horseback riding, and other adventures in our National, State, and local parks. You can follow Joslyn on her NPT blog below, on Twitter @JoslynJunior, and on Instagram @junior_ranger_joslyn.

Joslyn looks forward to touring the places where history was made. Thanks to the National Parks Service, many of our nation’s important sites are being preserved. She hopes to share what she learns about the historic sites in her home state of Nebraska, as well as other interesting sites throughout the Midwest.

Keeping our parks and environment healthy and clean is a goal of Joslyn’s. With the support of her teachers and principal, Joslyn started a Crayola Colorcycle recycling program at her school, which has expanded to locations at three schools, two libraries, a 4-H extension office, and a daycare.

She earned the 2018-2019 Presidential Youth Environmental Award from the Environment Protection Agency for her recycling efforts in 2019. Joslyn also volunteers at her local zoo in the summertime and is an active member of Cass County 4-H. When Joslyn isn’t at a State or National Park, you can find her sporting events– as she has been a Kid Reporter for Sports Illustrated Kids since 2018. Joslyn is available for speaking engagements about National Parks for schools and community groups that are located in Nebraska and Iowa.

Joslyn wants to help get every kid to National Parks, where they can enjoy the beauty of nature and see the wildlife she works so hard to help!


Time Travel at Homestead National Monument

Time Travel at Homestead National Monument

If you want to experience time travel, go to the Homestead National Monument of America in Beatrice, Nebraska!

The National Monument is located at 8523 West State Highway 4 Beatrice, NE 68310

While there you can tour the land that was part of the first Homestead claim, see the oldest restored tallgrass prairie in the National Park Service, and tour the longest-running one-room schoolhouse in Nebraska!

Buddy and I visited for their Homesteading Days program. While I was there I made corn husk dolls, churned butter by hand, and learned how to wash clothes by hand. 

Here are my favorite things to do at Homestead: 

Learn About the Homestead Act of 1862- Settlers could get 160 acres of land for free!  Each homesteader had to live on the land, build a home, make improvements, and farm for five years before they were could own the land. The Homestead Act gave 270 million acres of public lands to settlers  

The Monument is where history was made–  Come see the land where  that Daniel Freeman homesteaded.  Freeman was one of the first people to file a claim under the Homestead Act of 1862. Legend has it that Daniel Freeman filed his claim 10 minutes after midnight on January 1, 1863 – the first day of the Homestead Act. 

Find Homesteaders in YOUR Family Tree– Wondering if your relatives were homesteaders? Come to Beatrice and search their homestead records for free.  They have records about homesteaders in Alaska, Arizona, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada, Oho, Wyoming, and Utah.

See the Last Homesteaders’ Tractor – the Homestead Act ended in 1976, but allowed homesteading in Alaska until 1986. The last person to receive a Homestead Act patent was Ken  Deardorff in May of 1988. The tractor he used on his Alaska homestead is now on display at the Homestead National Monument.

See the Longest Running One-room schoolhouse in Nebraska– there was a time when an entire school fit into one room! It’s hard to imagine kids of all ages gathered in one room to learn from a single teacher.  The Freeman School, officially known as School District Number 21, provided education for Nebraska children from 1872 until 1967. Stop by to tour the school, which has been restored to look like it did in the 1880s. 

See the Tallgrass Prairie– According to the National Park Service, 96% of the tallgrass prairies that were in our country are gone. That’s why Homestead preserves 100 acres of restored tallgrass prairie. This prairie restoration at Homestead National Monument began in 1939, making it the oldest in the National Park Service and the second-oldest in the country!  Visit Homestead to hike on two miles of trails through the prairie!

Check the calendar for more events! Homestead has events throughout the year. I’m looking forward to giving a helping hand by helping collect seeds there on October 12th. Visit thttps://www.nps.gov/home/planyourvisit/calendar.htm or call (402) 223-3514 for more information.