Tag Archives: Girl Scout Ranger Patch

National Park Week + free activities = fun in the great outdoors


From Girl Scouts of the USA

Now that spring is officially here, it’s time to check your gear, restock your day pack, and get ready to spend more time in the great outdoors! With more than 417 locations in the National Park Service (NPS), “America’s Best Idea” (as documentarian Ken Burns nicknamed U.S. parks) provides the ultimate places to discover new things, observe natural phenomena, and learn more about the natural world.

Anyone who’s ready to shake off winter and get outside will be happy to hear that the United States’ largest celebration of our national heritage, National Park Week, is April 15–23, 2017.

During this exploratory week, NPS hosts special events at parks nationwide, and both weekends that fall within National Park Week offer free admittance, so every visitor can enjoy.

In addition to soaking up some time outdoors, Girl Scouts can take advantage of this special week to work on their Naturalist and Outdoor badges or to start earning their Girl Scout Ranger patch . This patch’s requirements let Girl Scouts decide how they want to give back to parks by joining an existing volunteer program or by designing a new project with park employees. Volunteer programs include everything from educational programs to service projects that protect park resources. After five hours of service, girls earn a Ranger certificate, and after ten hours (or more!), they can collect the coveted Ranger patch.

So be sure to check out the NPS’s special events, clear your calendar, and fill your water bottle—it’s time to set out on a new adventure! (Don’t forget to share your pictures with the hashtags #FindYourPark and #NPS101.)

P.S. National Park Week falls during Volunteer Appreciation Month, so if you see one of the 340,000 volunteers who make national parks great, be sure to say thanks!

Explore the outdoors with the Girl Scout Ranger Program


From the  National Park Service

The National Park Service and Girl Scouts of the United States of America have partnered to create the Girl Scout Ranger Program. Through this program you are invited to:

  • explore the outdoors
  • learn about the history of national parks

Girl Scouts are invited to participate in a variety of existing, organized educational or service projects at national park sites, or design their own experience or project to align with Journey work, badge activities, or a Take Action or Highest Award project. Girl Scouts are awarded certificates and/or patches for their participation.

While having fun in a national park, you can:

Qualifying Program Experiences

Girl Scouts are invited to work collaboratively with NPS employees to take part in educational programs, volunteer and service projects at any NPS site. Example activities for Girl Scouts:

Participate In Existing Educational Programs and Service Projects such as:

  • Ranger-guided interpretive tours
  • Junior Ranger programs
  • Environmental education programs
  • Web Rangers
  • Service projects: Many national park sites have volunteer programs that can offer Girl Scouts an opportunity to assist in a variety of long-term or short-term projects to improve and ensure protection of park resources and facilities. Girl Scouts are encouraged to take part in any sustainable organized project, agreed upon by the NPS, as an appropriate service opportunity that protects and preserves park resources. Girl Scouts and their leaders should contact the park Volunteer Coordinator to select and develop these projects and activities.

Design New Experiences or Projects

While existing organized educational programs are an excellent way to learn about the NPS, the NPS also invites Girl Scouts to develop their own projects and establish activities in collaboration with NPS employees. Girl Scouts interested in developing their own project must first coordinate their project with a park representative. While there may be some limits to the scale or type of activity, Girl Scouts are encouraged to seek out opportunities to develop their own activity. Parks have the discretion to decide what project best serves the needs of that location and fits within the guidelines of the site. Girl Scouts are also encouraged to use visits to NPS sites as inspiration for Take Action projects beyond the borders of the park or site, bringing their experiences home to improve their local community.

How to Earn a Certificate and/or Patch

Girls can participate in the Girl Scout Ranger Program through a troop, event, travel, or camp experience, and will be awarded a program certificate and/or patch upon completion for their Girl Scout grade level.

While the program does not require a specific number of hours of participation for each Girl Scout grade level, it is important that the program stresses a progression of activities. Younger girls may experience a brief engagement in a short learning activity, and older girls should be challenged to engage in a deeper experience. Certificates are issued by the park after completion of program requirements.

To earn a Girl Scout Ranger certificate, girl scouts should participate in organized education activities and/or volunteer service projects for a minimum of five (5) hours at one or more national parks.

To earn a Girl Scout Ranger patch, Girl Scouts should participate in organized educational activities or volunteer service projects for a minimum of ten (10) hours at one or more national parks.

Girl scouts observe demonstration and examine artifacts.

Girls Scouts participate in an archaeology event at Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park.

Girl Scout Rock Art - 2013 Journeys

Getting Started!

Below are some tips on how to get involved in the Girl Scout Ranger Program.

Find a site: Visit the Find a Park webpage to find a park in your state or any park of interest.

  1. Learn about the site:
    Visit the park’s website to learn about its history; the natural, cultural or historical resources it protects; and the activities that parks offers, such as hiking, biking, wildlife watching, and guided interpretive tours.
  2. Brainstorm for activities:
    Once you have learned a little bit about the park, think about activities that interest you. Many of the parks describe the interpretive and educational programs they offer to the public and various volunteer opportunities on their website; think about how these programs can help enhance Girl Scouts Journeys or meet badge requirements. Record a list of ideas for possible activities.
  3. Contact the site:
    Contact the site to discuss the possible activities. Once on the park’s website, click on the “Contact Us” link in the left corner and call the park information number. Identify that you are interested in participating in the Girl Scout Ranger Program and would like to speak to the person who coordinates the program for the park.
  4. Coordinate and plan with the park:
    Work together with the NPS representative to determine the appropriate program or project. The NPS representative can also suggest ideas for activities, and will work with you and the girls to ensure that the project is going to be fun, informative and help you gain a better understanding of the national parks and the many natural, cultural, and historical resources they protect!
  5. Have Fun!
    Once all the logistics are set up, go and have fun with the Girl Scout Ranger Program! Feel free to keep track of your participation in the program by using the downloadable Girl Scout Ranger Activity Log!

Learn more about becoming a Girl Scout Ranger

Girl Scout Gold Award Certificate of Recognition

The NPS prioritizes working with partner organizations, such as Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation at national park sites.

In addition to these opportunities, the NPS would like to recognize scouts and their achievements and/or accomplishments related to the environment and/or conservation.

Girl Scouts who have completed their requirements for the Gold Award are eligible to receive a certificate of recognition from the National Park Service.

Please click here to download the Gold Award Certificate of Recognition. (Use of the certificate is based on the honor system, as the certificate should only be downloaded after earning the award).

Girl Scouts can earn a certificate or patch by participating in the Girl Scout Ranger Program that invites Girl Scouts to participate in educational and/or volunteer service projects at national park sites to spark their awareness of the national parks and learn more about protecting our nation’s natural and cultural resources.