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Title: Mesa Verde: Junior Ranger Booklet

Author: United States. National Park Service

Release date: July 19, 2019 [eBook #59949]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Stephen Hutcheson, Lisa Corcoran and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at


Mesa Verde Junior Ranger Booklet

Mesa Verde
Junior Ranger Booklet

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Mesa Verde National Park


Welcome to Mesa Verde National Park!

The National Park Service and its park rangers care for special places like Mesa Verde for today’s and future generations to enjoy. That means YOU, as well as your children and grandchildren!

Kathy and Gentle Rain

Hi! My name is Kathy and this is my new friend, Gentle Rain. Gentle Rain and her family used to live in a Mesa Verde cliff dwelling 750 years ago. She helped me become a Junior Ranger, and now both of us want to help you.

Becoming a Junior Ranger is fun! As you explore the park, you will learn about Gentle Rain’s culture, look for items her family and friends might have used, and visit their homes. Just follow our directions and you’ll earn a Mesa Verde Junior Ranger badge in no time!

To earn your Mesa Verde Junior Ranger badge, just complete the following steps:

1. Complete the activity called “Being A Good Steward.”

2. Then, complete at least 3 more activities. Once you choose the activities you want to do, use these special codes to know which questions to answer for your age group:

4-7 8-9 10-up
Ages 4-7 Ages 8-9 Ages 10-up

3. Once you have finished steps 1 and 2 above, take your booklet to any park information center to receive your Mesa Verde Junior Ranger badge.

Suggested Activities
Half Day (2-3 hours)
Being a Good Steward 3
Ancestral Puebloan Life 4
Times Have Changed 6
Cliff Dwelling Bingo 10
Suggested Activities
Full Day or More
Being a Good Steward 3
Ancestral Puebloan Life 4
Generations (Mesa Top Loop Drive) 8
A-Mazing Migration 11
or more.....


This Junior Ranger booklet was created through the partnership of the National Park Service (NPS), the National Park Foundation (NPF), and the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and was made possible through the generous support of Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., a National Corporate Partner of NPF. Thanks, also, to Junior Ranger Ambassador, Clint Herriman. To learn more about the online Junior Ranger program, visit

Illustrations and artwork by Mary Lloyd, Talela Hales, Marna Bastian, DJ Webb, and Jim Tschetter. Use of “Through a Child’s Eyes,” on the cover and throughout booklet, courtesy of Mesa Verde Museum Association.

National Park Service • National Park Foundation • SCA • Ocean Spray Craisins

Being A Good Steward

Activity can be done anywhere.

Kathy Kathy: To become a Junior Ranger we need to be good stewards. A steward is someone who helps take care of something that belongs to everyone. Since we share our national parks with thousands, even millions of other people, a Junior Ranger should know how to be a good steward while visiting these special places. It’s easy. All you have to do is learn and follow the rules of the park. Learning the rules lets us know how to stay safe and take care of the park.

4-7 8-9 10-up
Circle 4 Circle 4 Circle 4
Describe 1 Describe 2 Describe 4

Directions—Look at the picture below.

• Circle four things people are doing that are harmful, and
• Describe WHY they are wrong.
Harmful activities

Ancestral Puebloan Life

Activity for the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum.

Gentle Rain Gentle Rain: Mesa Verde National Park protects over 700 years of history about my people, the Ancestral Pueblo people. Throughout the museum, you will discover how we learned to adapt to our environment in order to meet our basic needs of food, water, and shelter.

Directions—Have fun as you explore the dioramas and exhibits to find the answers to the museum activity questions.


FOOD—3rd Diorama (Check or circle the right answer)

Look carefully around the diorama. What did the Ancestral Pueblo people (Modified Basketmakers) NOT eat?





WATER—4th Diorama

Find the place where residents of this Mesa Verde pueblo got their water. What is it?





SHELTER—5th Diorama

Look for a circular room being built in the ground in front of the cliff dwelling. What is it?

Swimming Pool


Trash Pit


Mesa Verde pottery is known for its beautiful designs. Draw your own design on the jar below. (If you want an example, see the pottery exhibits.)

Pottery jar


FOOD—Exhibit Area

Find a tool they used to plant corn. What is it?

(Hint: See “People of Corn” exhibit)

WATER—Exhibit Area

Find an item that women used to carry the water from the springs to their homes. What is it called?

(Hint: See “Beginning of Pottery” exhibit)

SHELTER—Exhibit Area

What is a kiva? How was it used?


Place an X over the plants and animals you find as you go through the museum exhibits.

Bighorn Sheep







Prickly pear

Pinyon nuts



Use the clues below to complete the crossword puzzle. Begin in the exhibit room across from the dioramas.


This crop was very important to the Ancestral Puebloans’ way of life. A part of this plant has been found in almost every room, kiva, and work area in Mesa Verde (Room 1)
Before the bow and arrow, this spear-throwing device was used to hunt large game. (Room 1)
This was the first type of house built in Mesa Verde. (Room 2)
These small bowls with long handles were used for dipping and pouring liquids. (Room 3)
Scientists study wood beams used in the construction of a dwelling to learn when the structure was built. What is this science called? (Room 4)
The Ancestral Puebloans were good at conserving water in this dry climate. You can save water at home by turning this off while brushing your teeth.

Times Have Changed

Activity can be done anywhere.

Gentle Rain Gentle Rain: My family learned how to adapt and survive at Mesa Verde by using what nature provided. Because of this, my life at Mesa Verde was very different from your everyday life. At a young age, children helped with daily chores. We didn’t go to school, but we learned valuable life lessons everyday. We learned how to grow crops, hunt, make pottery, and build houses with mud and stone. We gathered materials from our surroundings to make what we needed. We also learned about our history through stories told by our grandparents.

Directions—Discover how we lived in Mesa Verde by completing the following activities for your age group.

4-7 Draw a line from each item in the left column (things we use or do today) with an item in the right column (things the Ancestral Pueblo people used or did then.)

Now Then
Water faucet
Basket and ears of corn
Pet cat
Clay pot in fire pit
Microwave oven
Water pot and dipper
Canned and packaged corn
Domesticated turkey

8-9 The boxes list items used by Ancestral Pueblo people at Mesa Verde. Read the items in each box, then use the blanks beside the box to write the name of the natural resource used to make everything in the box. One is started for you. (Hint: Answers are in the 10-up activity word list below.)















Bone tools and jewelry

Warm blanket

Pine nuts (food)

Timber for building

Pitch for waterproofing


10-up To learn more about Gentle Rain’s life in Mesa Verde, fill in the blanks to read the following story. If you have little brothers or sisters, they might like to hear the story when you are done. (Use the word list to fill in the blanks and complete the story.)


My family and I live in a stone room of a cliff dwelling. The people of my village wake up very early and start cooking fires in the rooms and courtyards. Every morning, my mother goes to collect water from the nearest

spring while I feed the turkeys.

As soon as the morning meal is eaten, the men and boys climb up the cliff face using

and toe holds to reach the fields. Spring days are spent clearing the fields and planting
, beans, and squash. Corn is our most important crop. The women use manos and
to grind the corn into meal. But for now, my mother is teaching my younger sister how to make
. We use it for cooking, and storing food and water.

Throughout the year, the men hunt mule deer and

, while children help the women gather wild plants, such as nuts from the
pine trees, grains from ricegrass, and pads from the prickly pear cactus. Much of this food is stored for the winter. We also collect
leaves to pound into fibers to make rope, sandals, and baskets. My father weaves
feathers with yucca fibers to make blankets for the winter.

When the

are not used for ceremonies, we spend time in these warm, underground rooms listening to the stories of our people, or working on crafts such as weaving, basketry, and making tools.

No matter the time of the year, my people are busy with the daily tasks needed to survive in Mesa Verde.



Activity for the Mesa Top Loop Drive.

Gentle Rain Gentle Rain: My people did not always live in cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde. For the first 600 years they lived on the mesa top. As you drive the Mesa Top Loop you will see changes in our housing styles from pithouse, to pueblo, and finally to cliff dwelling.

Directions—Find the answers for your age group in this activity by driving the Mesa Top Loop and visiting Stops A, B, and C below.

4-7 PART 1—Connect the Dots:

After driving the Mesa Top Loop, connect the dots to see one of the Ancestral Puebloan homes.

Puebloan home
PART 2: Which type of home is it?
Cliff Dwelling

Go to PART 3 to draw your favorite type of home. ⇒

8-9 10-up PART 1—Scavenger Hunt:

Drive the Mesa Top Loop Road and read the signs at each of the three stops listed below. Use the signs to find the missing word in each sentence and fill in the blanks. (Don’t forget to ask your parents for help if you need it.)

A. Pithouse (A.D. 600)
1. The Ancestral Pueblo people were starting to build
homes, and becoming farmers.
B. Pithouses & Early Pueblo Villages (A.D. 700-950)
2. The Ancestral Pueblo people used
construction (rough stones loosely cemented with clay) when they began building above ground villages.
C. Sun Point View (A.D. 1200-1300)
3. The Ancestral Pueblo people built their cliff dwellings inside cliff

Next, go to PART 2 at the top of the next page to copy your answers in the blanks and complete the word search. ⇒


8-9 10-up

PART 2—Word Search

Locate all twelve words in the word search puzzle below. Circle or draw a line through each word in the puzzle to finish it. (Find the three missing words by completing “PART 1—Scavenger Hunt” above.)





cliff dwelling






fire pit











y t i n u m m o c h m p t
r p p e r m a n e n t i l
c o o p e r a t i o n t o
s e v o c l a t k o a h l
u m a s o n r y l r r o b
a v i k l o b i l o p u e
g s p r i n g i r o s s u
t i p e r i f a p m v e p
g n i l l e w d f f i l c

4-7 8-9 10-up PART 3: Draw the type of house you would most like to live in.


Cliff Dwelling Bingo

Activity can be done at any cliff dwelling.

4-7 8-9 10-up

Gentle Rain Gentle Rain: Visit a cliff dwelling, such as Spruce Tree House, to see many of the same things I did when I lived here. Remember to be a good steward by not touching, climbing, or leaning on the walls.

Directions—Look for the items below and place an “X” over the ones you find. Find four in a row across or diagonally.


T-shaped Door

Juniper Berries

Mano and Metate

Viga (roof beam)



Seep Spring

Prickly Pear Cactus

Ranger Hat

Two-story Building

Soot-blackened Wall


Fire Pit

Pinyon Pine


A-mazing Migration

Activity can be done anywhere.

Kathy Kathy: For some time, it was thought that Gentle Rain’s family and the rest of the Ancestral Pueblo people simply vanished from Mesa Verde. We now know that they migrated south over 700 years ago. Their descendants include the Rio Grande Pueblos in New Mexico, the Hopi in Arizona, and the Ysleta del Sur in Texas.

Directions—Follow the paths through the maze from Mesa Verde to find the present-day locations of the Ancestral Puebloans’ descendants. You must travel through and find at least one Ancestral Puebloan item along the way to each pueblo, and avoid any modern items.

4-7 Find the Hopi Pueblos.

8-9 Find the Hopi and Rio Grande Pueblos.

10-up Find the Hopi, Rio Grande, and Ysleta del Sur Pueblos.


Mesa Verde Junior Ranger
Souvenir Page

Be An Artist!

Draw a picture or write about what you liked BEST

What I experienced at Mesa Verde National Park...

Place a check mark next to the cliff dwellings you visited:

Spruce Tree House

Balcony House

Cliff Palace

Long House

Step House

Place a check mark next to other activities you did:

Walked a trail

Drove the Mesa Top Loop

Saw a pithouse

Had a picnic

Talked to a ranger


This Certifies That

has completed the Junior Ranger Program at
Mesa Verde National Park

As a Mesa Verde Junior Ranger, I promise to be a good steward by protecting Mesa Verde and all national Parks. I will stay on the trails, not feed the wildlife, not litter, and recycle when I can. I also promise to be respectful of other cultures whose way of life may be different from my own.

Witnessed by:

(Park Ranger Signature)

Transcriber’s Notes