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Junior Naturalist

Spirit Mound

The Junior Naturalist Program is an excellent opportunity for youth 7-18 years of age to explore South Dakota State Parks and learn about the rich natural and cultural history of South Dakota.

The Junior Naturalist Program also encourages youth to be physically active in the outdoors by participating in exciting recreational opportunities.

As a Junior Naturalist you will:

  1. Explore nature and the history of South Dakota
  2. Gain knowledge to share with others
  3. Protect the valuable resources in the state
  4. Be physically active in the outdoors

Junior Naturalist Forms



7-18 years old


Free and open to the public

Level 1

Attend five Game, Fish and Parks programs and do three healthy recreational activities.

  • Earn a Junior Naturalist badge

Level 2

Attend five additional Game, Fish and Parks programs and do three additional healthy recreational activities


Visit five different Game, Fish and Parks areas and complete five hours of volunteer service at any Game, Fish and Parks location where opportunities exist. Volunteer hours can be such things as helping a naturalist put on a program, picking up litter, watering plants, planting flowers, painting, or helping in the office.

  • Earn a Game, Fish and Parks sleeping bag

Level 3

Create a nature program and present it to the public


Create and/or help to complete a project in a Game, Fish and Parks area with the help of a Game, Fish and Parks employee, where opportunities exist. Minimum of 15 hours. Examples include creating flower boxes, creating a new walking/hunting trail or path, or making new nature signs.

  • Earn a choice of:
    • Snowshoes
    • Fishing pole and tackbox
    • Disc golf set
    • Binoculars


To view a calendar of park programs, go to the event calendar


If you need to arrange for special accommodations, please contact the SD Division of Parks and Recreation at 605.773.3391 a minimum of two weeks prior to the event so that arrangements can be made.