UNDATED (WJON News) -- The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has launched a new program to get kids off their screens and into state parks.

The Junior Ranger Program launched in July and replaces an outdated one.

DNR spokeswoman Jenni Webster says kids can pick up a booklet at a state park and then complete activities until they reach six points, at which time they'll get a Junior Ranger patch...

We wanted kids to get a chance to get out to state parks, and we wanted the booklet to encourage them to really explore the plants and animals they would find at that state park. And so, (the activities) some of them are designed to be done on the page, maybe on a rainy day in the tent. But, a lot of them are also activities that get families right out on the park trails investigating and noticing what's around them at the state park.

Webster says don't worry if your child doesn't complete the tasks before winter. She says it will carry over until the child reaches the goal. You must then visit a state park or visitor center to get the free Junior Ranger patch.

The booklet is designed for kids ages 6-10.  After getting the patch, the child can keep the booklet as a coloring book.

Webster says they wanted to get kids outdoors and explore while learning about the ecosystem around them.


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