EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) -- To help families enjoy the great outdoors one local nature reserve is taking notes from national parks and creating their own version of the Junior Ranger program.
"We've been trying to figure out how to engage people but do it in a safe manner and face-to-face just isn't safe right now or a thing that we can do. We sat down and it kind of became a collaborative effort from our educational team. We had one idea that morphed into another idea that became junior naturalists," Naturalist Ruth Forsgren said. "We give you a list of tasks and you pick certain ones to complete."
For just $1 anyone can become a Junior Naturalist at Beaver Creek Reserve and use either the reserves 400 acres worth of land or even their own backyard to complete the tasks needed for each badge.
"We didn't want it to be cost-prohibitive. We didn't want a family who has two or three potential junior naturalists to be discouraged because they couldn't afford if we were charging 5 or 10 dollars because then that starts adding up," Forsgren said.
The tasks, Forsgren explained, help give families a sense of direction when looking to explore the great outdoors.
"They're used to coming to our summer camps or coming to our programs and going on hikes with us, and we can't do that right now. A lot of people get overwhelmed. They get on the trail, and say, 'I don't know anything.' When they come out here instead of just going, '9 miles of the trail now what do I do?' There are some very specific tasks that you can do, and as you accomplish them, you can earn your badges," she said.
The program is aimed at younger junior naturalists but anyone can earn their pins.
"We're pretty sure there are some adults are going to want come play," Forsgren said.
For more information on how you can become a junior naturalist, visit the reserve's website at www.beavercreekreserve.org.