Exploring Park Activities with Student Ambassador Audrey

Hello Buddy Bison Friends!

I am asked from time to time how I started visiting parks.  My parents wanted me to start enjoying being outdoors more, so we visited my local State Park, which is Lake James State Park (NC). When I was 7, on a visit to a trail at Lake James, I learned about a program called Kids In Parks which is a program sponsored in part by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation.  This cool program, which has a similar mission to the National Park Trust mission, is to encourage awareness and appreciation of parks and public lands. The Kids In Parks program has colorful brochures for kids called Track Trails, which are filled with activities kids can do on trails or in parks.  When kids complete an activity their parents can enter their activities on the website for Kids In Parks, and they will send kids awesome prizes! For each Track Trail kids complete they receive a unique sticker. Stickers are something that most kids enjoy and it was fun to receive mail myself and get a sticker to put into my Track Trail Journal.  When my parents went to the Kids In Parks website they found state parks and national park sites that were both a part of the Kids In Parks network. As we visited more parks, I discovered the Junior Ranger Programs which were available in National Parks. The Junior Ranger programs have given me the chance to learn a lot about the parks I visit and earn cool badges and patches. Earlier this year Buddy and I helped with a booth for the Kids In Parks Program (pictured below).

 I do my best to encourage kids to get out and explore parks that are around them! Programs like the Junior Ranger Program and Kids In Parks are just a couple of ways that families can get out and enjoy our parks.