Jr. Rangers go back in time to learn about history

Published 1:00 am Tuesday, June 26, 2007

NATCHEZ — Natchez youth will be taken back in time this week.

Natchez Park Rangers have been hosting a Junior Ranger History Camp during the month of June. The final week of the camp began Monday and about 18 children were present. The camp has been run by several different rangers from the Natchez area and this is the second year it has taken place.

“Primarily what we are doing is teaching the children historic things about Natchez and making them more aware of what Natchez has to offer,” Park Ranger Nathan Hatfield said. “People forget what is in their own back yard.”

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This week the park rangers will take the children on trips to the Natchez Trace, downtown Natchez and Vicksburg. The children will have an opportunity to see historic sites and learn the history of each of the places they visit.

“A lot of the children don’t realize that a national park isn’t just trees, lakes and waterfalls; it can be historic buildings, such as Melrose,” Hatfield said.

The participants get to learn problem solving, orienteering and critical thinking skills through activities they complete throughout the day.

“You can learn all different kind of things about history,” camper Buddy Livingston said.

In addition to scholarly activities, the children get to partake in games during their snack and break times. They will also have the opportunity to dress up like a traveler of the trace in the 1700s.

“Some of the activities have academic undertones, and some are just fun,” Hatfield said.

Most of the children were enrolled in the camp last year.

“I would say almost 40 to 50 percent of the kids who enrolled this year were returning students,” Hatfield said.

The park rangers hope that the camp will continue every summer.

“We are going to try to do it next year,” Hatfield said. “It just depends on the staffing and budget.”