Evan's first Junior Ranger badge at Aztec Ruins National Monument

It’s Earth Day on The Children’s Hour, and we meet Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernandez (NM) who explains how National Parks and National Wilderness areas are created. Kids can play a big part! Then, Evan D from our Kids Crew tells us about the National Park Service’s Junior Ranger program, and how it has made him enjoy nature even more. Finally, biologists and authors Lily and Barbara Kingsolver share about their new book, Coyote’s Wild Home. Happy Earth Day from The Children’s Hour!

This time on The Children’s Hour, we wanted to learn more about how National Parks and Wilderness areas are made. 2024 is the 100th anniversary of the Gila Wilderness Area which was the very first wilderness protected by the US Federal Government. Learn more about this celebration and about the Gila here. Our first guest represents New Mexico’s third Congressional district, and has legislation to add another Wilderness area to the national map. Representative Teresa Leger Fernandez explains the process to create National Parks and National Wilderness Areas, and describes how the community is involved.

Congresswoman Leger Fernandez is also working to restore the Every Child Outdoors initiative, a program that will allow all US fourth graders a free pass for all National Parks, Wilderness Areas, Monuments, and Historic Sites. She explains how children can have real impact on influencing their representatives by writing hand-written notes to urge Congress to protect the Earth, or any other topic you care about. The Congresswoman told us that every letter written by a child is read, and makes a difference.

Kids Can Make an Impact

What is an outdoor space that is important to you or your community? Write a letter to your local representative to express your feelings about this space, about preserving the environment and protecting the earth.  Use this site to help you find the contact information of your representative and see examples of how to write your letter.

Our Kids Crew member Evan D has another way to get outdoors and into these special places. Evan is a Junior Ranger, a program that gives kids badges at each site to encourage kids to learn more about where they are visiting. The Junior Ranger program is open for kids ages 5 to 13 and gives families even more reasons to include visits to National Monuments, Parks, Wilderness Areas, Wildlife Refuges and Historic Sites. Learn how you can be a Junior Ranger!

Get Outdoors

Find a forest or park near you using this site, where you can also search by activity such as bird-watching, walking, and water sports. Learn how to do things such as tracking animals, identifying plants, geocaching and more!

Evan got his first badge at Aztec Ruins National Monument, which is located in north western New Mexico. Aztec Ruins is one of the many Chacoan era archaeological sites that has been preserved as a National Monument. People lived all over the United States for thousands of years, but in the desert Southwestern United States, some of the original structures people made have endured. It’s important to remember that the people whose ancestors made the Aztec Ruins, and other sites, remain among us today. Find out who the original people of the land you live on are here. 

We also meet biologists and authors, Lily and Barbara Kingsolver. Their first book for children, Coyote’s Wild Home tells about a young coyote pup learning the skills needed for growing up. Lily and Barbara explain how they learned so much about coyotes, and why telling this story is so important to them.  

We hope you get inspired get into nature this Earth Day and explore the world where you live. Check out this resource for ideas on how you and your family can protect, nurture, learn about, and celebrate nature.

This episode was produced by Senior Producer Christina Stella and Executive Producer Katie Stone with help from Education Director Lorraine Archibald. Chad Scheer was our recording engineer at Outpost.

© 2024 The Children’s Hour Inc, All Rights Reserved

Playlist: Protecting Earth

A Good Place To StartMichael & The Rockness MonstersA Good Place To Start - Single
Yoho (The Hiking Song)Peter Lenton and FriendsProud Like a Mountain (Deluxe Version)
The WildernessElla JenkinsSongs Children Love to Sing
All the Wild WondersCoco's LunchA Whole New Way of Getting Dressed
The Four Seasons (Le quattro stagioni), Op. 8 - Violin Concerto No. 1 in E Major, RV 269, 'Spring' (La primavera): I. AllegroCamerata Antonio Lucio, Emmy Verhey & Alun FrancisThe Greatest Violin Concertos: Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, Bach and Vivaldi
Park SongThe Zing ZangsPark Song - Single
This Green ManHayes GreenfieldMusic for a Green Planet
EARTH DAY'S MY BIRTHDAYDebi DerryberryGotta Go Green
Well and GoodPodington BearSoul
Heartland FlyerBlue Dot SessionsThe Balloonist
The Yodeling Ranger of Central ParkHopalong AndrewHowdy Do! Songs of the Urban Cowpoke
PythagorasPodington BearBackground
School of the WildThe Missoula Coyote Choir & FriendsAsk the Planet
Coyote's SongJoanne ShenandoahShenandoah Country
Sweet and EasyPodington BearThe Box Set
Give Peas a ChanceThe Sippy CupsKids Rock for Peas

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