PERRY TWP. The parking lot at the Exploration Gateway at Sippo Lake Park was packed with local families who came to watch their kids earn a ranger for a day badge. There were a number of stations setup in the parking lot and along one part of the walking trail at Sippo Lake Park that the kids had to visit to earn their badge.
Once the kids visited all of the stations and learned about a number of different safety rules, they could stop by the last station and get their badge. The event draws 600-700 kids and families each year.
Stark Parks Chief Ranger Daniel George said the event is held to introduce kids to what park rangers do on a daily basis.
"The kids get to make paper vests like the rangers wear and visit the many stations along the trail where they learn about different activities that rangers do as part of their job," George said.
There were stations for boating safety, a shooting range with pellet guns, hunting safety, finger printing and a station with ballistic vests and other equipment that kids could try on. One of the highlights of the day was a special presentation by Sgt. Jonathan Crock and Stark Parks' K-9 Gunner.
The presentation included showing how Gunner has been specially trained to protect those in the parks. A police dog and his trainer from the Streetsboro Police Department also participated in the demonstration.
"This is our second year for the event and we are thrilled with the turnout today," George said. "The kids seem to be having a blast and they’re getting a chance to see what park rangers do."