The City of Clermont’s first Junior Park Rangers had over 40 kids exploring, learning and seeing what it takes to protect Clermont’s parks March 20 at Lake Hiawatha Preserve.

“Our park rangers are Champions for ensuring the safety of park goers, as well as for providing frontline customer service within our parks,” Parks and Recreation director Scott Davidoff said. “We were thrilled to see our Junior Park Ranger program spur so much excitement in our youngest park users, and we hope that it inspires them to become advocates for our parks far into the future.”

Children ages 4-10 explored Lake Hiawatha Preserve for plants, animals and park landmarks on their Scavenger Hunt Bingo cards.

Each participant received a clipboard with a booklet and crayons to take with them to every station. Rangers led each activity, which also included an overview of each city park and why water safety is important. 

Inspiration for the program stemmed from the National Park Service’s Junior Ranger Program. Making sure residents and park users are safe is a priority of national and Clermont park rangers, alike.

“Everyone had a great time, and it was our first kids program back since COVID-19 began,” Program Manager Emily Deal said. “It was the perfect way to familiarize kids and parents with our park rangers, city resources and safety tips.”

The program wrapped up with the group reciting the park ranger motto to “Explore, Learn and Protect.” They also received City of Clermont Junior Park Ranger badges.