Mistletoe State Park typically reserves its Junior Ranger programs for days when Columbia County students are out of school. So, when members of the Columbia County Board of Education voted to use March 14 as a makeup day after an ice storm hit the area last month, park officials determined they would keep their scheduled program on the calendar in an attempt to draw more of the area’s homeschooled students.
Brenda Bettross, program assistant at the park, said a second date – Saturday, March 15 – has been added so that public school students who are interested in attending the program can do so.
“We hope youngsters gain a greater understanding and respect for our natural resources,” said Bettross. “We want them to become aware of their natural surroundings and the important role we all have in our natural role.”
Each of the Junior Ranger programs has a theme. The March 14 and March 15 programs will be geared toward preparing for spring.
The programs will run from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., with participants building birdhouses, working in the park’s butterfly garden, taking a bird hike, creating a butterfly craft and participating in other outdoor educational activities.
Cost of the Junior Ranger program is $20 per person and registration is required.
Park officials will also hold a volunteer assist program later this month for adults in preparation of the spring season. Volunteer Trails Day will be held on March 29 from 10 a.m. until noon. Participants will join staff as they work to prepare the park’s trails for the spring.
“We’ll pick up trash, trim paths as needed and remove fallen trees where we are able,” explained Bettross.
Individuals interested in volunteering are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes and long sleeves and bring gloves, small clippers and any other gardening tools that might be useful.
Local groups are encouraged to add this to their community service projects.
For more information about either the Junior Ranger program or the Volunteer Trails Day, call the park office at (706) 541-0321 or e-mail Bettross at firstname.lastname@example.org.