This weekend we camped at Magnolia Springs State Park in Millen, Georgia. It was a nice little park, with a pond for fishing and a beautiful natural spring. We rented a boat and paddled around. We saw alligators and turtles and fish (though we didn’t catch any.) There weren’t too many mosquitos (yay!) and no raccoons it seemed (yay!!) though there were lots of clumsy beetles, some huge woodpeckers, and a curious armadillo that nosed around our tent one night.
But to my mind, the most important part of the trip was what we brought home with us . . . .
A Junior Ranger!
The Georgia State Park system has a Junior Ranger program where kids can complete certain activities to earn Junior Ranger status and the nifty patch that goes along with it. Fletcher saw a poster about the program on Saturday morning, we went straight away to pick up the activity book, and by Saturday evening he had completed more than enough activities to earn his patch!
And the thing is, he was determined to do the activities and earn that patch no matter what – and he did it on his own. He carried the book with him all day long, in the woods, in the boat, it never left his side. He searched for different species of pine needles and identified flowers and berries. He drew pictures. He taught us all about the dangers of poison ivy and ticks and copperhead snakes. And when he was presented with his patch on Sunday morning, you could see how proud he was of himself. And I was even more proud of him.
He says next weekend we need to visit another state park and earn the next level of Junior Ranger – the one for 8-10 year olds. We’ll see about that. In the mean time, the kids also have lucky buckeyes to keep in their pockets and I have yet another reminder of just how incredible my kiddos truly are.
Oh! And Lola Gray and I found the perfect nutshell for a Thumbelina bed! We are reading the book together right now, and have plans to make our very own Thumbelina doll in the next few days, so stay tuned!