Natural Resources specialist runs Junior Ranger Program for kids around the U.S.

Published Nov. 30, 2020

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District has a Junior Park Ranger Program, open to all ages, where children can complete a junior park ranger knowledge packet and earn a junior ranger certificate, official USACE junior ranger patch and a bag of surprises. 

A 15-year USACE employee, Alicia Cannon, Louisville District’s Barren River Lake Natural Resource specialist, developed the program in 2015.

“I think the whole thing started because I found some old “Junior Ranger” patches laying around,” Cannon said. “I knew we used to do some programs that hadn’t been done for quite some time, so I just figured out a way we could put those to use.”

Cannon developed a packet with questions based on facts from the district’s website. She also included information about visiting USACE’s National Operations Center for Water Safety website, commonly known as, where participants can print off free coloring and activity sheets that educate the public about water safety. 

“They can mail or email the completed packet back to me, and then I send them a letter, certificate, patch and some of our water safety giveaways (pencils, stickers, bracelets, etc.),” Cannon said.

Cannon’s junior ranger program has attracted participants from all over the U.S. to include submissions from Kentucky, California, Texas, Missouri, Ohio, Georgia, Michigan, Maryland, Nebraska and Utah. 

“Alicia’s program has reached children all across the country,” said Alan Ramey, Barren River Lake project manager. “We are very proud of her hard work and creativity developing this program.”

According to Cannon, it is an easy way to engage with people that they wouldn’t normally get to engage with.

“Kids are able to learn about the project, get some safety information and some fun surprises at the end,” Cannon said. “I really enjoy it.”

To learn more about the program, visit