2017 is a year of firsts for us at The Parklands, from the first year with all of the parks being open, the upcoming opening of the mountain bike park, and several new interpretation programs and hikes. All of these things have been wonderful in growing the experience you can have at these amazing parks and creating a new community for us to join. One of these new programs has been meeting once a month since January–our Junior Explorer program.
This group of young explorers has grown a lot since we started with there always being a chance of meeting someone new to take an adventure in the woods. We come together on the third Saturday of each month to learn about a whole variety of topics from what it was like to live like an early settler to finding salamanders during the annual salamander migration. Each meeting has a new focus but always comes with plenty of outdoor time to hike and explore the trails.
The best part about being a Junior Explorer is that adventures and discoveries do not only have to happen during our monthly meetings. Using your very own Junior Explorer book, filled with tons of different activities that invite you to get out and explore all of the parks, you can learn all about the plants and wildlife that call The Parklands home. Even better, once you score enough Turtle Points you become an official Parklands Junior Explorer with a special pin to wear on your adventure pack with pride. We officially swore in our first two Junior Explorers at our April meeting. Back in the beginning of the year, Quinn and Bronwyn Goad were our very first to bring in their completed Junior Explorer books, and we are very happy to be able to call them our “founding members”.
So if you’re wanting to join in on a new adventure or if you are interested in learning more about the parks and forest in your backyard, join us during one of our meetings! Print your own Junior Explorer book ahead of time to get outside and Explore all month long!!!
Jared Smith is the Lead Interpretive Ranger at The Parklands of Floyds Fork. Jared enjoys learning about the various tree species within The Parklands, teaching school field trips, and hiking. He once threw a Frisbee one quarter of a mile.
About the Author
As Director of Education, Curtis Carman oversees The Parklands Outdoor Classroom, promoting STEAM-based education through engaging, hands-on learning both outdoors and inside the classroom. Each year, his team of Education Specialists, Interpretive Rangers and Camp Counselors guide nearly 20,000 participants of all ages through school field trips, camps, Parklands Explorer, Junior Explorer and Wednesday Wonders. Prior to his promotion to Education Director in May of 2018, Curtis first joined The Parklands team as an Interpretive Ranger and led the department as Education Coordinator for three years. A native of Louisville and a graduate of Ballard High School, Curtis returned to his hometown after having worked as an environmental educator in Maine and Colorado at Acadia and Rocky Mountain National Parks. Curtis also served as Membership Manager at the Rocky Mountain Conservancy. Curtis enjoys hiking, biking, camping and kayaking.