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Fort Vancouver encourages stewardship with summer exhibit, new children’s activity

The Columbian
Published: July 29, 2023, 5:55am

HUDSON’S BAY — Fort Vancouver National Historic Site has debuted a new outdoor exhibit and summer Junior Ranger program to encourage visitors of all ages to play a role in stewarding national parks and historic sites. The exhibit, “Look for the Helpers,” highlights people both past and present who have helped to steward the natural, cultural, and historic resources of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. The new stewardship-focused Junior Ranger program will invite young people and their families to become the next generation of park stewards.

“Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is a great place to learn about the people who make National Park Service sites wonderful places to visit, explore, and learn,” said Park Guide Sarah Weber. “Caring for a special place like Fort Vancouver is a group effort. National Park Service staff rely on volunteers, partners, visitors, and members of our amazing community to help make this a welcoming, safe and fun place to visit.”

To participate in this summer’s Junior Ranger program, visitors can pick up a checklist of stewardship-focused activities at the Fort Vancouver Contact Station, located just inside the fort’s gates. After completing at least five activities, they can present their completed checklist and receive their Junior Ranger badge. This program is free of charge, though entrance fees to Fort Vancouver apply. The Junior Ranger program is designed for children ages 8 to 12 but can be completed by younger children with help.

Look for the Helpers features the site’s present-day staff and volunteers, as well as the efforts of photographer Louis Lee, whose World War II-era photographs give us a window into the past, and archaeologist Louis Caywood, whose excavations in the 1940s uncovered the location of the Hudson’s Bay Company fort. The exhibit uses these stories to inspire visitors to Fort Vancouver National Historic Site to become park stewards themselves by learning and following park rules and regulations. The exhibit is located along the trails outside Fort Vancouver.