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Tennessee State Parks’ Officials Induct 116 Junior Rangers at Johnsonville State Historic Park

Friday, May 17, 2013 | 11:30am

Rangers Represented the Entire Second Grade Class at Waverly Elementary School;

Celebration Commemorated Largest Junior Ranger Class in State Park History

NEW JOHNSONVILLE, Tenn. – History was made today at Johnsonville State Historic Park as Tennessee State Parks’ officials inducted 116 Junior Rangers from Waverly Elementary School.  Representing Waverly Elementary School’s entire second grade, the event represented the largest Junior Ranger Class ever to be inducted in state park history.

As part of the Tennessee State Parks’ Junior Ranger curriculum, these students have been studying topics such as safety, wildlife, plants, water, history and astronomy.  Overseeing today’s swearing-in ceremony was Director of Tennessee State Parks Mike Robertson, along with Park Manager Jerry Wooten. 

“While rain did move into today, it didn’t put a damper on the activities and the students were treated to fun games and lunch, followed by the official graduation ceremony,” said Robertson.  “I was honored to preside over today’s induction ceremony.  This was a great group and they are all proud to be the newest additions to Tennessee State Parks’ Junior Ranger program.”

There are other ways to become an official Tennessee State Parks’ Junior Ranger. Interested kids ages 6-14 may attend a Junior Ranger Camp, slated for June and July at various parks throughout the state; or complete a series of activities found in the Junior Ranger Adventure Guide. The sign-up process is easy. To get started, sign up for a Junior Ranger Camp by contacting the office of participating state parks. Free Junior Ranger Adventure Guides are available at any state park. To download a copy of the Adventure Guide or to find upcoming Junior Ranger Camps in your area, visit www.tnstateparks.com/junior_ranger.

The state parks’ Junior Ranger Program is designed with flexibility in mind so that participants can choose their own path and set their own pace. Junior Rangers, along with their families, can enjoy exploring parks, touring visitor centers, attending park programs, hiking the trails and experiencing all the fun and exciting adventures Tennessee’s great state parks have to offer.

“Tennessee State Parks’ Junior Ranger Program provides unique opportunities for children to learn about the great outdoors in a fun environment,” said TDEC Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill.  “We put a lot of thought and effort into all of our programs and activities, while offering an incredible value to parents looking for quality, summer activities.” 

The Junior Ranger Adventure Guide is divided into four steps. Each step covers different topics and offers a selection of fun, hands-on activities. Upon completion of each activity, the child gets one step closer to becoming a Junior Ranger. Topics in the initial two steps include safety, history, plants, wildlife, astronomy and water. Step three involves the creation of a stewardship project. In step four, the adventure guide is taken to the park ranger or park office. Upon completion of the program, participants will take the Junior Ranger pledge, receive a badge and are sworn in as official Tennessee State Parks’ Junior Rangers.

Located off U.S. Highway 70, Johnsonville State Historic Park is named for Military Governor Andrew Johnson. This 600-acre park, on the eastern side of Kentucky Lake, encompasses and overlooks the site of the Battle of Johnsonville. On November 4, 1864, Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry took up artillery positions on the west bank of the Tennessee River. Calvary forces under Forrest who had already sunk four Union gunboats downstream, opened fire on the depot from across the river and proceeded to set fire to and sink numerous Federal riverboats in their moorings. Confederate gunfire resulted in the burning of the supply depot, destroying millions of dollars’ worth of Union Army stores.  Two large artillery redoubts and other surviving fortifications can be visited at the park.  For additional information about the park, please visit www.tnstateparks.com/Johnsonville.

Tennessee's 54 state parks offer diverse natural, recreational and cultural experiences for individuals, families, or business and professional groups.  State park features range from pristine natural areas to 18-hole championship golf courses.  Celebrating its 75th Anniversary this past year, the Tennessee State Parks system was established through legislation in 1937. Today, there is a state park within an hour's drive of just about anywhere in the state, offering a variety of recreational, lodging and dining choices. For more information about Tennessee State Parks, please visit www.tnstateparks.com or connect via Facebook or Twitter. For a free brochure about Tennessee State Parks, call 1-888-867-2757.

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