Skip to Content
A booklet in a fishing basket. The booklet text reads: "Junior Ranger Let's Go Fishing Activity Book"
Sleeping Bear Dunes Junior Ranger Angler
National Park Service
Parent pages

NPF to Support Youth and Community Fishing Experiences in Parks Across the Country

By Karen Cumberland

From the warm waters of Florida’s Biscayne National Park to the icy shores of Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, the National Park Foundation (NPF) is excited to introduce this year’s cohort of Junior Ranger Angler grantees. These national parks, park partners, and community-based organizations will host in-park fishing clinics, set up gear libraries, and more in hopes of providing more children, families, and communities opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and national parks.

The Junior Ranger Angler program was created by the National Park Service to give our youngest park visitors — typically between the ages of 5-13, but open to anyone young at heart — a meaningful opportunity to gain new skills, connect with park rangers, and start building lifelong relationships with parks as they learn to fish. With NPF’s support, the Junior Ranger Angler program has been able to reach across the country.

NPF x Niantic x Sun Outdoors: Junior Ranger Anglers

“At its core, Junior Ranger Angler is about providing a joy-filled experience for children, their families, and their communities, but the impact lasts beyond a single day or week,” said Lise Aangeenbrug, NPF’s Chief Program Officer. “It’s a first impression, encouraging the next generation to see themselves in parks, find the benefits of outdoor recreation, and – hopefully – feel inspired to protect parks for future generations as well.”

Junior Ranger Angler expands upon the National Park Service’s Junior Ranger program, which invites young park visitors to participate in a series of activities when they visit parks, share their answers with park rangers, and earn an official Junior Ranger patch and certificate. The goal of the program is to encourage children to learn about and protect parks.

2024 Junior Ranger Angler Grantees

This year’s 37 grantees will use fishing to inspire, educate, and engage the next generation of park stewards through collaborative community-centered programs.

  • Acadia National Park will further develop their gear libraries, host workshops to teach educators how to fish with their students, and develop activities and lessons that meet Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core Standards in relation to park and school fishing activities.
  • The Anchorage Park Foundation will work with Alaska Public Lands Information Center (APLIC) to significantly expand existing fishing programs within the Outdoor School, which embodies experiential learning and exploration, fostering a deep-rooted stewardship of Alaska's public lands through immersive, place-based education.
  • Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area will engage state, county, city, and non-profit partners to promote the historical, cultural, and natural history of the area through fishing with children and families in the Heritage Area's waterways.
  • Beyond Boundaries and the Captain John Smith National Scenic Trail will partner to host the Beyond Boundaries Fishing Club, a transformative weekly engagement initiative that brings together youth with disabilities and their families to delve into the fundamentals of fishing, environmental stewardship, and species identification.
Groups of people in kayaks on a body of water
Junior Ranger Angler canoe activity at Biscayne National Park (Edgar Woo)
  • Biscayne National Park will engage local youth from Boys & Girls Club of Miami to learn about the history of fishing, stewardship, outdoor recreation, environmental pioneers, and modern fisheries management through ranger-led programs at BGCM centers, in-park field trips, fishing clinics, kayak tours, and boat-based fishing expeditions.
  • Boston Harbor Now and Boston Harbor Islands National & State Park will invite participants to explore the harbor and islands, learn about aquatic species and their habitats, develop safe fishing practices, and forge meaningful connections to the harbor, islands, and each other.
  • Calumet Keweenaw Sportsmen's Club and the Keweenaw National Historical Park will use youth fishing opportunities – derbies, day camps, educational seminars, and more – to bring together the diverse communities of Michigan’s famed Copper Country and grow the skill sets of participants.
  • The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park will continue to engage more with the local angler community through their Fletchers Cove Fishing Rodeo – a public event to highlight and engage community members who are interested in learning about fishing, preservation, conservation, and outdoor education.
  • The Community Development Center of Freedman's Town will engage local youth at Big Thicket National Preserve through fishing, canoeing, water safety, and good sportsmanship.
  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park will engage children and their families with a 14-week summer program series around fishing as part of an overall community engagement strategy that introduces the park to local audiences through relevant outdoor recreation opportunities.
A national park ranger teaching a group of children how to fish.
Junior Ranger: Let's Go Fishing! at Cuyahoga Valley National Park (National Park Service)
A girl holding a fishing rod
Students from Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron, Ohio learn to fish as part of their field trip to the park in early June 2023. (Cuyahoga Valley National Park)
  • The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and the Pocono Environmental Education Center will engage established organizations that serve youth with disabilities and provide accessible recreational fishing opportunities to youth from local communities.
  • The Ebony Anglers Foundation will host fishing camps in North Carolina, Florida, and beyond to serve members of the BIPOC community as part of their Black Girls Fish and Black Boys Boat programs, which introduce youth to fishing and boating and equip them with life skills like physical and intellectual fortitude and leadership skills.
  • Everglades National Park will help students learn about the importance of this region through recreation as they interact with rangers and experts to learn how to properly prepare rods and reels, tie knots, and cast.
  • Fort Pulaski National Monument, in partnership with Loop It Up Savannah, will host the “Take Care” program to engage children and their families and use fishing as a tool for learning about the coastal Georgia environment, mindfulness, and what it means to be a steward.
  • Friends of Anacostia Park and Anacostia National Park will deliver a program as a part THRIVE DC – a programmatic effort to provide youth with year-round, meaningful outdoor experiences, and a safe space in the national park in their backyard.
  • Friends of Virgin Islands National Park and Virgin Islands National Park will work with community volunteers and fisherpeople to engage young residents of the Virgin Islands through swimming and fishing clinics to build valuable skills and increase comfort and connection to the sea.
  • Gateway National Recreation Area, in partnership with the American Littoral Society, will host programming in the Sandy Hook Unit of the park to teach participants how to fish and discover what lives in the waters of Gateway.
  • Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve will sponsor a 1-2 day boat trip for Hoonah and Gustavus youth to the park. The park also plans to develop an oceanographic curriculum that includes a cultural component for implementation in future years.
  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area, in partnership with Fort Point National Historic Site, will host Let’s Go Crabbing! Healthy Habitats of the Past, Present, and Future. This program will lean into themes of intergenerational knowledge, traditional stewardship, and collective responsibility for the health of local habitats.
  • Indiana Dunes National Park will inspire conservationists and anglers through inclusive fishing programs where everyone is welcome to join, connect with their community, and find inspiration to cherish and protect our environment.
  • International Game Fish Association will provide a hands-on introduction to recreational fishing and ethical angling practices for Junior Ranger Anglers with six Learn-to-Fish clinics at several national park sites. To extend the impact of their project, they'll also provide training to staff and build out a virtual course for future staff to prepare to lead fishing clinics.
  • The James River Association along with Colonial National Historical Park will engage students from York County Public Schools through three weeks of hands-on, environmental summer programming focused on fishing, exploring the James River ecosystem, and learning about local marine life.
  • Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve and the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center will provide the perfect space to foster community involvement, promote stewardship, and encourage sustainable fishing practices – including traditional fishing methods, such as pole fishing, as well as cultural techniques like cane pole fishing.
  • Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument will launch their "Fishing with Mr. Evers project," which will offer recreational fishing experiences and create a gear library at the site to foster community engagement, encourage people to learn the story of Medgar Evers, and help participants find the healing and grounding power of the outdoors.
  • Mississippi Park Connection, Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, and other partners will lead a family-friendly outdoor recreation program that invites participants to experience a variety of activities and connect with the Mississippi River.
  • The National Mall and Memorial Parks will hire and support a student intern from Galludet University to collaborate with the community, co-designing and hosting an accessible family fishing event at the Tidal Basin with the local D/deaf community. Through an inclusive and accessible program design, this event, open to the full community, demonstrates the value and importance of co-created and community-led programming.
  • New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park will host their Go Fish! Camp – a free week-long camp for fourth graders in New Bedford, Massachusetts. In partnership with the Fishing Heritage Center, this camp focuses on a different fishery each day and includes immersive educational programming, such as a field trip to an oyster farm and visits from marine scientists.
  • New River Gorge National Park and Preserve will engage local youth at fishing clinics where the park's aquatic ecologist, rangers, and interns will host casting demonstrations, macroinvertebrate studies, and introduce citizen science projects as a way to empower and inspire youth as contributors to science and their community, while working towards the creation of a sustainable fishing and citizen science program that targets local youth and then employs them through internships as they grow older.
  • Outdoor Outreach will offer six recreational fishing excursions with Cabrillo National Monument for young people and their families from communities in San Diego, specifically hoping to reach communities that experience barriers to accessing national parks and outdoor recreational activities.
  • Rocky Mountain National Park (West Side), in partnership with the Rocky Mountain Conservancy and National Sports Center for the Disabled, will connect local communities to fishing programs, including weekly Junior Angler programs and several accessible fishing events.
  • Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Valley Invests in Community Success will engage local, Spanish-speaking community members by developing and hosting summer programming that will begin with the basics of fishing to engage, build rapport with participants, and culminate with a daylong field trip.
  • Southern Fulton School District and the Flight 93 Memorial National Park will engage students from a rural, remote school community in Pennsylvania by offering mentorship and instruction from a master fisherman and trained fly-fishing instructors during a two-day camps. Participants will also tour the park with park officials and a first responder assigned to this site on September 11, 2001.
  • Springfield Armory National Historic Site and Fishing Friends Inc. will invite youth and their families to experience fishing and actively participate as members of an intergenerational fishing community, supporting conservation efforts to protect the ecosystems in and around their community of Springfield, Massachusetts.
  • Timucuan Parks Foundation and Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve will host ethical angling fishing clinics, which will provide access and healthy recreation and education to diverse communities and build on their ongoing partnership with Blue Star Families to support and connect with local military families.
  • Voyageurs Conservancy and Voyageurs National Park will bolster the continuation of fishing programs for youth and families throughout the park with free programming for visitors of diverse backgrounds and all ages to learn about the cultural and historical value of fishing.
2023 Junior Ranger Angler event at Moore's Creek Battlefield (Cape Fear River Assembly)
  • The Waccamaw Siouan STEM Studio, in partnership with Moore’s Creek National Battlefield, will host their 4th Community Yacunne (Fish) Camp and STEM Day to reconnect children, families, and elders to the ancestral ways of sustenance, language, culture, and tradition.
  • Wild Rivers Conservancy of the St. Croix & Namekagon and the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway will strengthen their current fishing initiatives and bring programming to more areas in the watershed in order to engage historically underrepresented communities, offer participants the opportunity to gain a new skill, and encourage a positive relationship with the riverway to create a diverse community of riverway anglers and stewards.

The National Park Foundation is proud to support the Junior Ranger Angler program by providing grants funded by NPF’s Outdoor Exploration initiative premier partners Nature Valley and Subaru of America and supporting partners Niantic, Sun Outdoors, Winnebago and Winnebago Industries Foundation.

Related Programs