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After a two-day Grand Teton adventure, a new crop of Junior Rangers get pinned

(Moran, Wyo.) - For the last two days, 45 fourth graders from Blackfoot, Idaho spent their days hiking, horseback riding, boating, wildlife gazing and just having fun in Grand Teton National Park. And last night, at the culmination of the trip, the kids from Donald D. Stalker Elementary were all pinned as Grand Teton National Park Junior Rangers. This is the second year that Grand Teton Lodge Company (GTLC) has hosted this event as a part of the Every Kid in a Park Initiative. GTLC paid for the entire trip and Coleman Company, Inc. donated camping equipment. For many of these kids, it was their first time on a horse, on a boat, seeing a moose or in a National Park in general. "One of our core values is to do good," said Alex Klein, vice president and general manager of GTLC. "When we heard about the Every Kid in a Park Initiative that Obama announced last April, it was something that really resonated with us. We said, 'what can we do?' And rather quickly we called the Park and they identified a very deserving school." [image: Inline image 1] *National Park Service Deputy Director Peggy O'Dell pins a Junior Ranger at the ceremony last night. h/t Cody Downard / Grand Teton Lodge Company / Pitchengine Communities* According to Klein, last year's program was so successful that they chose to do it again. The program even caught the attention of the National Park Service main office in Washington D.C., so they sent out National Park Service Deputy Director Peggy O'Dell to participate. "I am so very proud of Grand Teton National Park and Grand Teton Lodge Company," said O'Dell. "They have such a great partnership and they're doing such wonderful work together. I have spent a day and a half with these kids and they are different tonight than they were when they showed up last night. They are more relaxed. They are comfortable in this environment. They have had experiences that were new and different and they came through them with their friends, parents, teachers and park rangers. And to hear them talk about the things they've seen and the things that they've learned just touches your heart." "It is a fun program and in all honesty, it rewards us as much as it rewards them," said Klein. Last year, GTLC was the first partner of this initiative to bring fourth grade students to experience the majesty of a national park and it was such a success that the company hosted this year's fourth grade class. Donald D. Stalker Elementary, a Title 1 school, is 120 miles from the Grand Teton National Park and was chosen because of its diverse student population that, while located just a few hours away, has had little exposure to its neighboring national parks. *Feature Photo: National Park Service Deputy Director Peggy O'Dell with a group of fourth grade students in Grand Teton National Park. h/t Cody Downard / Grand Teton Lodge Company / Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #news