WASHINGTON, DC – “Let's Move Outside, Junior Rangers!” is First Lady Michelle Obama's call to kids across the country this summer. Today, the National Park Service kicks off Let's Move Outside Junior Ranger in 20 parks. National Park Junior Rangers will not only have fun and get exercise but also receive an extra reward for working up a sweat.
Young people who complete at least one physical activity in pursuit of their Junior Ranger badge receive a special sticker that designates them as a Let's Move Outside Junior Ranger. The activities range from adventures like hiking with a ranger at Grand Canyon National Park to body surfing at Canaveral National Seashore and canoeing at Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.
Let's Move Outside, led by the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, provides tools and information to parents to make it easy to enjoy the outdoors and be active. It is part of First Lady Michelle Obama's nationwide campaign to end childhood obesity within a generation.
“The Let's Move Outside program in our national parks provides a wonderful way for parents to help their children gain a passion for outdoor recreation while teaching them about our nation's beautiful lands, our rich cultural heritage, and our storied past,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.
The program engages young people from all backgrounds in a range of educational programs and self-guided activities on America's public lands and waters. From hiking and biking, to swimming, paddling, and horseback riding, these activities promise to be fun, healthy, and family friendly.
Throughout the summer, Let's Move Outside! programs and events will be held in conjunction with schools, community groups, and other partners.
“Young people inspire us; we want to help them be vigorous and curious for life. It starts with family fun. National parks are amazing places where exercise is disguised as adventure, and we sneak in some learning too,” National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis said.
Let's Move Outside will soon be integrated into other programs, like the Fish and Wildlife Service's “Let's Go Outside” initiative, which seeks to reconnect kids and families to nature in our country's 552 National Wildlife Refuges, and the Bureau of Land Management's “Take It Outside” program.
Primary federal partners in this initiative are the Department of the Interior's National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management, and the Department of Agriculture's U.S. Forest Service.
“As a department that manages one fifth of our nation's land, the Department of the Interior will play a vital role in Let's Move Outside!” said Julie Rodriguez, director of the department's Youth Office. “Our parks, refuges, and other public lands are waiting to be explored and enjoyed by our nation's young people, and we are eager to help them get outdoors.”
By summer's end, 50 national parks will offer Let's Move Outside Junior Ranger. Before heading out, visit www.letsmove.gov/outside for more information about activities and participating parks. This website hub will link families to the great outdoors and give tips and ideas on how to best plan and enjoy an active visit.
The 20 parks launching today:
Canaveral National Seashore, Florida
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Effigy Mounds National Monument, Iowa
Fire Island National Seashore, New York
Fort Dupont Park, Washington, DC
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Colorado
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, West Virginia
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Indiana
Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, Minnesota
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
New River Gorge National River, West Virginia
Prince William Forest Park, Virginia
Redwood National and State Parks, California
Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana