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    Tully Lake Summer Park Rangers turn kids into Junior Rangers

    Tully Lake Summer Park Rangers turn kids into Junior Rangers

    Photo By AnnMarie Harvie | Mya Oja tries on a life vest as Nieve Morris looks on during the Junior Ranger...... read more read more



    Story by AnnMarie Harvie 

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District

    What better way to spend a perfect summer day than to be breathing in fresh air and learning about the great outdoors? That’s exactly what 30 children ages 6-12 did when they traveled to Tully Lake in Royalston, Massachusetts to participate in the Junior Ranger Program, Aug. 6 and 9.

    Tully Lake’s Summer Park Rangers were enthusiastic about the idea of running a Junior Ranger event and showing kids how wonderful being out in nature can be, according to Park Manager Jeff Mangum. “I thought it was a great idea,” he said.

    “We hoped the kids would walk away with an appreciation of nature, to get out and enjoy it more,” said Summer Park Ranger Ashley Casello. “We also hoped to instill some environmental stewardship in them.”

    When Jamie Paluck heard about the program via Tully’s Facebook Site, he thought the same thing as Casello and brought his daughters, Halyee and Taylor. “We live just down the street, so it was nice to hear about a program like this so close to home,” he said. “I wanted my children to learn how to be a Ranger and how to take care of the environment.”
    The children gathered at the recreation area pavilion and the Park Rangers began the day talking to them about what it was like to be a Park Ranger and how important it was to take care of the environment. The discussion soon moved on to Water Safety. Park Ranger Samantha Hutchins, assisted by Park Ranger Tansy Remiszewski, showed the children the proper way to wear a life vest. “I can’t emphasize enough how important this is,” said Hutchins as she adjusted her life vest.
    Hutchins selected two children out of the group and had one try on the life vest while the other helped her alter the fit, making sure everyone knew how to do it.

    After the life vest demonstration, the Summer Park Rangers and their Junior Ranger recruits walked over to a clearing next to the pavilion where they participated in an ice-breaking session. Each child introduced themselves and named an animal that started with the first letter of their name. The session led to many giggles and discussions of the wildlife the children chose.

    Once the introductions were made and new friendships were forming, the Summer Park Rangers took their excited charges on a brief nature walk through Tully Lake’s nature trails. While walking, the Rangers identified various trees and plants that were growing alongside the trails.

    At the end of the hike, the children received worksheets to record the results of the next event, the Junior Ranger Wildlife Olympics. They were split into three groups and each group rotated through one of four Olympic trials: leaping like a snowshoe hare; standing on one leg like a Great Blue Heron; jumping like a bison and sprinting 25 yards like a pronghorn. The children recorded their times and distances to share with their parents while being encouraged by both the Rangers and their fellow recruits. When asked which was his favorite Olympic event, Evan Holloway didn’t even have to think about it. “I liked standing on one foot like a Great Blue Heron the best!” he said.

    Cameron Gould favored the more active events. “I loved the hike and the jumping!” he said.

    The future Junior Rangers and the Summer Park Rangers hiked back to the pavilion, selecting leaves and plants that they identified along the way to use for their next activity –leaf rubbing. After a brief demonstration by Remiszewski, the children went to work. Some of them were creative with their rubbings, crafting all sorts of colorful scenes and backgrounds to complement their leaves. Others concentrated exclusively on the beauty of their selected vegetation and created detailed, suitable for framing, recreations of their leaves. “Finding the leaves was my favorite thing,” said Emmie Rabbitt, who made more than one leaf-rubbing project.

    The Summer Park Rangers kept the creativity flowing with the next craft – creating windsocks out of recycled materials. As Casello prepared the materials, Hutchins and Remiszewski gave the “almost there” Junior Rangers instructions on how to assemble their wind socks. Like the leaf rubbing project, the children could decorate their windsocks any way they liked. While working on his project, Corbin Hubbard could not contain his joy and excitement about working to become a Junior Ranger. “I love it!” he said. “I want to come here every day. I wish I could.”

    The final activity for the action-packed day was a game of animal charades in the clearing next to the shelter. Each child picked a New England animal name out of Hutchins’ bag and acted out the animal for the other children to guess. It was one last chance for them to show off their creativity and to expend that last bit of energy. Most kids got multiple turns before they returned to the shelter to receive paper Junior Ranger hats to color and pledge cards to recite during the impending graduation ceremony.

    Donning their newly colored hats, the children returned to the clearing, recited their pledge from the card and received their Junior Ranger patches. Hutchins, Casello and Remiszewski posed with their newly-minted Junior Rangers as their parents captured the moment. As the children left, the Summer Park Rangers presented them with goodie bags filled with water safety coloring books, New England animal tracking forms, rulers and temporary tattoos. Parents received water safety-themed reusable bags and utility clips. “I think it went really well,” said Remiszewski as she watched some of the Junior Rangers root through their goodie bags. Many of the parents seemed to agree as they thanked the Summer Rangers as they left. “I’ve never been to Tully,” said Maggie Balins, who brought her granddaughter Mya. “We’re outdoors people, so we’re always looking to do something outside. It was a wonderful experience for both of us. We’re coming back for sure.”



    Date Taken: 08.09.2019
    Date Posted: 09.10.2019 11:13
    Story ID: 339254
    Location: ROYALSTON, MA, US 

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