Union Pacific, National Parks Service, and foundation, team up on 'junior ranger' program

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WASHINGTON – The National Park Service (NPS), Union Pacific Railroad and the National Park Foundation (NPF) today announced the release of the Junior Ranger Railroad Explorer activity booklet that can be obtained for free from NPS.gov. Issued just ahead of National Train Day and the Golden Spike anniversary on May 9 and May 10, respectively, the new educational booklet traces the journey of the first transcontinental railroad and brings the rich history of railroads to life in a fun and engaging way.

The Junior Ranger Railroad Explorer is one of many Junior Ranger programs available online. Each program is an intergenerational learning experience that focuses on a site or theme tied to public lands.

“Get ready to ride the rails from coast to coast and learn how the transcontinental railroad impacted the country,” said National Park Service Deputy Director David Vela, exercising the authority of the Director. “The program’s creative activities provide insight to the technology, challenges, people, and transformation associated with the iron horse.”

“Railroad Explorer is a great way to track the history of trains, and you can do the fun activities at home with friends and family,” said National Park Foundation President and CEO Will Shafroth. “Thanks to the support of Union Pacific, this new Junior Ranger program engages kids of all ages with the multi-faceted and multi-cultural story of the meeting of the rails.”

NPF also supports the Junior Ranger “Let’s Go Fishing!” activity booklet. Both of these Junior Ranger programs are part of NPF’s broader mission to connect people to and protect national parks.

“Children of all ages are naturally intrigued by trains, but the Railroad Explorer book helps them understand how the railroad connected the nation 150 years ago, changing the way Americans live, eat and travel,” said Union Pacific Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations and Chief Administrative Officer Scott Moore. “While gaining an appreciation for rail history and our national parks, Railroad Junior Rangers will also learn to always keep safety in mind – never walk on or near the tracks, and only cross at designated locations.”

Among the people who contributed to the development of the transcontinental railroad were Chinese immigrants. As we honor Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month throughout May, this new booklet serves as another educational resource that pays tribute to the generations of Asian Americans who impacted our country’s history.

Junior Ranger activity booklets encourage young explorers to discover the breadth and depth of the National Park System, learn about the outdoors and our collective history, understand the importance of preserving national parks and share their experiences with friends and family.

More information is available online.

— From a Union Pacific news release. May 8, 2020.
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