The Junior Forest Ranger (JFR) program is an exciting way for young people to explore their national forests and grasslands.  The Cradle of Forestry in America heritage site is nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains and is a great place to enjoy nature education, hiking trails, and a day of family fun! The JFR program uses Forest Service science and practices to encourage girls and boys ages 8 to 12 to enjoy and appreciate nature. Programs run weekly on Thursdays between June 13 and August 8, from 10:30am to 12:00pm. Caregivers are not required to attend but are always welcome.

Pre-Registration is required, and spaces are limited, please call (828) 877-3130 


Program Info

  • Each Thursday Junior Foresters will investigate and explore the outdoors, learning about a range of topics from forestry, forest sciences, outdoor ethics and stewardship. 
  • Each child receives a Junior Forester booklet and badge upon taking the “Conservation Pledge” at the end of the program. Children can come to one or all eight programs!  
  • Parents with younger children can sign up for our Woodsy Owl’s Curiosity Club ages 4 to 7 which takes place at the same time as the Jr. Forester program. 
  • The program cost $5 per child and $3 for any accompanying adult. Accompanying adults with a Friends of the Cradle Season Pass or federal pass such as America the Beautiful or Golden Age pass are free. 

What To Bring

Some light hiking will take place during these programs, so the following items are recommended for children and accompanying adults to wear and/or bring: 

  • Sturdy, close-toed shoes 
  • Small backpack 
  • Sunscreen 
  • Water bottle 
  • Raincoat 

Go to our Junior Forester event page to see available dates and more information.


Not able to attend one of our summer programs? The Cradle of Forestry now offers a Junior Forester booklet for the site. Fill out the activities and return to front desk to receive a certificate and badge.

Download the pdf