Tag Archives: National Park Service

Power of Cookie: 7,500+ cookies to Yellowstone National Park

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Submitted by Melissa Ellenberger

Pikes Peak

Colorado Springs

Two years ago, the amazing girls in Troop 607 decided to go to Yellowstone National Park. To ensure every girl in the troop could attend, each girl had to sell 292 packages of Girl Scout Cookies, 5,500 packages. The girls surpassed this goal by 2,000 packages!

19 girls and 11 adults made the trip for four days and three nights. They stayed just steps away from Old Faithful and Mammoth Hot Springs. The girls hiked and saw geysers, gorgeous hot spring pools, buffalo, bears, elk, and more.

The best part is there were no televisions, phones, very limited cellular service, or WIFI!

This story was submitted using the Share Your Stories form. You can share your Girl Scout moments too.

Five steps to earning your Ranger patch

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From Girl Scouts of the USA

Girl Scouts is continuing our exciting partnership with the National Park Service and the “Girl Scout Ranger Program,” a joint venture connecting girls with National Park Service sites throughout the United States, including monuments, seashores, and urban sites. 

Through this program, girls are invited to play outdoors, learn about national parks and why they’re preserved, and develop essential leadership skills. Even better, girls have the opportunity to earn patches, complete journeys, and achieve Take Action and Gold Award projects! 

So, how exactly do you earn your Ranger patch? It’s simple!

  1. Choose a National Park Service site.

Visit http://www.nps.gov/findapark/index.htm. Choose a national park, a monument, or any of 417 sites protected by the National Park Service. Explore nature, learn the history, and read the stories to discover why it is important to preserve your park.

  1. Imagine Yourself in a National Park.

Brainstorm activities that you might want to experience at a national park. Consider working outside with a geologist or inside identifying fossils. Maybe wildfire restoration, building a bridge, or a night sky project interests you.

  1. Contact the park and make a plan.

Call the park (the phone number is on the park’s website under Contact Us). Identify yourself as a Girl Scout. Ask if there is someone who works with the Girl Scout Ranger program or a volunteer coordinator. Express your ideas to the coordinator. Together, plan a project to help the park and fulfill your goals.

  1. Go to the park and Have Fun!

If your park does not have a volunteer program or is too far away to visit, create a Take Action Project.

  1. Share the experience

Share your best shots on Instagram and Twitter using  #FindYourPark and #NPS101 (don’t forget to tag @GirlScouts and @GSColo) and invite your entire troop to do the same!

Ready to learn more about becoming a Girl Scout Ranger? Click here to read FAQs!

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

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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

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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.

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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.

Let’s get every fourth-grade Girl Scout into a park

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From Girl Scouts of the USA

On September 1, the National Park Service kicked off its Every Kid in a Park initiative, designed to encourage kids and their families to visit one of our country’s many national parks, historical sites, or national monuments. With Girl Scouts’ goal of getting more girls outside more often and in more engaging ways, we are excited to partner with the National Park Service on this important program.

Did you know there are four million fourth-graders in the United States? Imagine if all these kids took their families to a national park and were able to experience the many splendors it had to offer? Research shows that regular exposure to and interaction with nature before the age of 11 has lifelong impacts on children and creates positive feelings about nature and the environment.

With Every Kid in a Park, fourth-grade Girl Scouts will have access to educational programs at our national parks that are designed just for their age group. And they can start now! Encourage your girl to visit www.nationalparks.org, click on the Every Kid in a Park link, and complete one of the engaging educational activities (again, designed just for fourth-graders). She’ll receive a downloadable paper voucher giving her and her family free access to any national park, seashore, or historic monument/site for one year.

Findings in our own More than S’mores report (2014) show that outdoor spaces support physical play, and that spending time in nature improves concentration and creative reasoning, and enhances leadership in girls by cultivating curiosity and a sense of discovery about the natural world. Spending time with family in our amazing national parks will help foster in girls an interest in land stewardship and open them up to the wonders of nature.

So have your girl check out www.nationalparks.org and begin her outdoor adventure today!

Girls Scouts partner with National Park Service to give Girl Scouts everywhere access to the outdoors

From Girl Scouts of the USA

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Girl Scouts is excited to announce a partnership with the National Park Service to launch the “Girl Scout Ranger Program,” a joint venture connecting girls with National Park Service sites throughout the United States, including monuments, seashores, and urban sites.

Through the program, girls can participate in a variety of organized educational or outdoor service projects. Additionally, Girl Scouts may design their own project that aligns with their Girl Scout Journey experience, various badge activities, or a Take Action (“highest award”) project. Girls who successfully complete projects will be awarded certificates from the National Park Service and Girl Scout patches.

“Providing girls with access to the outdoors is one of the cornerstones of the Girl Scout mission,” said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of GSUSA. “Through terrific partnerships and programs like the Girl Scout Ranger Program, we offer girls a chance to engage in outdoor activities that encourage a healthy, active lifestyle and a respect for the environment. We are proud to be teaming up with the National Park Service to help more Girl Scouts in more places experience everything the outdoors has to offer.”

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Girls and troops who wish to participate in the Girl Scout Ranger Program can visit the National Park Service website to locate a park (“Find Your Park”) near their home. There, they can also explore the history of the park and learn about its natural and cultural resources. Troop leaders and parents can arrange for activities like hiking, biking, wildlife watching, and guided interpretive tours, and the Girl Scout Ranger Program will also allow girls to build their own unique park experience, earning badges and patches along the way.

Said GSUSA National Board President Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, “Girl Scouts is very excited to offer girls this incredible opportunity to explore the outdoors. Our national parks are an important part of the American landscape, both physical and cultural, and they have provided generations of American families with unique outdoor experiences. Now, through this partnership, we can offer Girl Scouts everywhere a chance to get outside and learn about nature and the importance of taking care of our environment.”

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To announce the Girl Scout Ranger Program, May 2, approximately 5,000 girls and 1,000 volunteers, Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, and NPS Deputy Director Peggy O’Dell walked across the Golden Gate Bridge together, celebrating this new partnership and bringing attention to the amazing outdoor experiences available to everyone at our nation’s national parks and monuments.

“The National Park Service and Girl Scouts of the USA have the same goal in mind: providing meaningful and memorable experiences for girls through unique outdoor experiences,” said Peggy O’Dell, NPS deputy director. “Through this partnership, girls will be introduced to the many ways they can play, learn, serve, and work in our national parks. We are committed to connecting our nation’s cultural and national treasures with today’s youth—so go ‘Find Your Park’!”