Have you heard about the Junior Waterfall Keepers Program based in North Carolina? If your family enjoys participating in the Kids in Parks program and earning Junior Ranger badges at the National Parks, then the new program from Waterfall Keepers of North Carolina will have you excited to get out exploring! KAG Contributor, Liene, has all the details about this new program including how to sign-up!
What is the Junior Waterfall Keepers program?
The Junior Keepers program was kicked off this year as part of the Waterfall Keepers nonprofit, because kids love waterfalls, too! The free program is all about exploring and learning about waterfalls and streams: water play, learning about the critters that call the creek home, exploring spray zones, and identifying the mushrooms, wildflowers, and other plants that grow near them. The program focuses a lot on safety and good habits around a waterfall, and encourages junior waterfall keepers to leave a place better than they found it – and to earn badges while doing it!
How do I sign up for the Junior Waterfall Keepers program?
When you sign up to become a Junior Waterfall Keeper you’ll receive a special Junior Keeper patch and sticker. Signing up is easy; just fill out the Junior Waterfall Keeper Signup Form. There’s an added benefit for adults to sign up to become a member of Waterfall Keepers; family members of Waterfall Keepers who sign up for the Junior Keepers program will also receive a free pass to Chimney Rock State Park.
I’ve signed my children up – now what?: Badge Challenges
As a Junior Keeper, your kids can currently work on two Badge Challenges: the conservationist, and creek critters . The challenges concentrate on observing the critters and plants you find on your hike, and on improving the waterfall experience by making good choices to help our environment. New badges will be announced each year so work hard to earn them ALL!
The Waterfall Passport will be added to the program in 2022, but this year’s visits will count. The Passport includes five state parks that feature some of North Carolina’s most beautiful waterfalls, and Junior Keepers will receive passport books to keep track of all the waterfalls they visit. Currently, waterfall passport info can be found online on the Waterfall Keepers website; you can download the pages to start working on these challenges now.
As a bonus, the Waterfall Keepers have developed a curriculum that adults can use with their kids or homeschool group. They can be used as a stand-alone adventure with kids, or combined with Junior Keeper badge challenges for a fun, and educational waterfall experience.
But wait – we’re in South Carolina, isn’t Junior Waterfall Keepers in NC?
While the Junior Keepers program is based in NC, there are dozens of North Carolina falls within an hour’s drive of Greenville! We’ve featured Chimney Rock State Park (one of the parks featured in the Park Passport) here on KAG and have another half-dozen articles with inspiration for your next waterfall adventure, in North and South Carolina, here:
- Where to Find the Most Magical Waterfalls Near Greenville
- Sapphire Valley, the Land of Waterfalls
- Visit the Waterfalls of DuPont State Recreational Forest
- Find a Challenging Hike & a Gorgeous Waterfall at Little Bradley Falls
- Hiking Rainbow Falls in Jones Gap (with kids)
- Put Mouse Creek Falls on Your Summer Bucket List!
- Spoonauger Falls is the Perfect Family Friendly Waterfall Hike in SC
- Hike, Splash, and Explore! King Creek Falls in South Carolina
- The Foothills Trail
There’s no denying summer is here, along with the hot weather that has every kid longing to cool off at the closest swimming hole. As you explore the beautiful waterfalls of our region this summer, earn badges with the Junior Keepers program while also learning a little something to help keep you safe, our trails enjoyable, and the tremendous beauty of these natural places intact!
This post was first published on the blog Femme au Foyer.