Welcome, future Junior Rangers! We are so excited for you and your family to explore San Mateo County’s wealth of natural, cultural, and recreational resources. Instead of in-person Junior Ranger programs, we have created this Junior Ranger Challenge so you can become a Junior Ranger safely with your COVID pod.

The challenge is intended for Junior Rangers age 7-12.

It spans six months, from April 1–September 30.
You have until then to complete the challenge.

To become a Junior Ranger, you will have to go explore at least one San Mateo County Park and complete some of the activities found on this webpage. Make sure you read all the steps before you start! Here's how to do this:

Step 1

Complete the introductory activities. They are found in the Introduction section of the challenge. The activities are called: What does it mean to be a Junior Ranger, Park Rules, Be Safe, and Intro to Habitats and Ecosystems. All are great preparation to get you ready to explore, so you need to do all four!

Step 2

After you complete those, pick the kinds of places you want to go to! You have to pick at least 2. Here are the kinds of places, what we call groups, and the parks and activities for each group. You’ll see some parks fall under multiple groups! We recommend checking the park web pages as well the trail page before you visit. 

Historical Sites Group
Historical Sites Group
Riparian Habitats Group
Riparian Habitats Group
Scrub/Chaparral Habitats Group
Scrub/Chaparral Habitats Group
Redwood Habitats Group
Redwood Habitats Group
Intertidal Habitats Group
Intertidal Habitats Group
Oak Woodland Habitats Group
Oak Woodland Habitats Group
Grassland Habitats Group
Grassland Habitats Group
Grassland Habitats Group

Step 3

As you see, each group has 3 activities. Click on the booklet for each group to see what the activities are like. Some are more difficult than others, but try the best you can to complete all 3 activities from the group you pick! There is an answer key for the extra tricky ones. Email kewright@smcgov.org for questions. You may do a different activity from another group if one is too difficult. Use the Checklist to keep track of what you’ve completed!

Step 4

If you complete:

  • 2 groups for a total of 10 activities: you get the Junior Ranger badge and certificate
  • 3 groups for a total of 13 activities: Junior Ranger badge, certificate, and notebook
  • 4 groups for a total of 16 activities: Junior Ranger badge, certificate, notebook, and water bottle!

Step 5

Take a picture of yourself working on an activity at a park and email it with proof of your completed activities plus your checklist to kewright@smcgov.org. Fill out this survey to receive your prizes!

Step 6

Make sure, at some point once you finish, you complete the Junior Ranger Pledge! You may complete it with a friend or family member, or with one of our Park Rangers! The last Friday of the month from May-September, at 4pm, Ranger Katherine Wright will host a zoom meeting for Junior Rangers. You may join in to complete the pledge with her or ask any questions you may have! Sign up here!

.... and that’s it! We hope you have a lot of fun and learn more about your San Mateo County Parks!

A couple notes

Many parks have a $6 entrance fee include. Make sure to check the park page before you go.

If you are completing the History group, you are welcome to visit either Sanchez Adobe or Woodside Store anytime but they are only opened fully and staffed Tuesday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m, Saturday – Sunday 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

We recommend you also download the OuterSpatial app on a member of your group’s phone for the History group, especially if you go when the locations are not staffed. We put helpful information about each location on the app!

We also have a Take A Hike Challenge starting May 1st! Check out the trails for the challenge and you might be able to complete both challenges at the same time!