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Virtual Jr. Ranger Camp Week Five: Water Week

July 7, 2020  |  Permalink

As temperatures began to rise in Tennessee, Virtual Jr. Ranger Camp dove into Water Week! Water has played an especially important role here in Tennessee. From major rivers to man-made lakes, water has served as the lifeline of farming, transportation, and recreation throughout our state. We'll be taking a look at a few of these things, as well as water's natural processes, throughout this week's blog post. You can also follow along at the Tennessee State Parks Conservancy Facebook page.

Bidge over river at sunset

The first day of Water Week allowed Junior Rangers to learn about Tennessee's rivers. Rivers are important to Tennessee for many reasons. They provide food and water sources and are part of a culturally significant landscape. For hundreds of years, they served as the best method for transportation. People traveled these waterways in boats and also use them to Shipp goods. Rivers are also crucial to the environment because they shape the land with erosion, carry nutrients, and play a vital role in the water cycle. Many rivers in Tennessee branch off into smaller tributaries, streams, and creeks, some of which feature beautiful waterfalls, swimming holes, and other natural aspects. Thanks to videos provided by Tennessee State Parks, Jr. Rangers had the opportunity to go on virtual hikes to two remarkable Tennessee waterfalls—Virgin Falls and Cummins Falls.

reelfoot lake state park in tennessee

Once Junior Rangers were familiar with some of the essential waterways in Tennessee, day two of Water Week introduced the only natural lake in Tennessee: Reelfoot! Reelfoot Lake State Park was created in the early 1800s by a series of earthquakes that were felt along the New Madrid fault line in west Tennessee. The earthquakes left a significant cavity in the land, eventually becoming the Reelfoot Lake we know today. Reelfoot Lake has drawn visitors for many years, and it was even the set of a movie in the 1950s! With a vibrant and diverse ecosystem and Cypress Trees that are hundreds of years old, Reelfoot Lake is an important water feature in Tennessee for so many reasons.

Norris dam state park in tennessee

At Wednesday's live Zoom gathering, Junior Rangers had an interactive experience learning about the three major parts of the water cycle: evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. On Thursday, they learned how water could be harnessed and transformed into energy through dams. Through the example of Norris Dam State Park, Junior Rangers learned the importance of the Tennessee Valley Authority and the ways water preservation can also provide recreation and be a source of livelihood for the surrounding communities.

The last day of Water Week explored the importance of water conservation. Did you know that the average person uses about 80-100 gallons of water per day? Luckily there are many ways you can conserve water at home. Junior Rangers were able to learn some of these methods, such as not letting the water run while washing your hands or brushing your teeth.

Throughout the week, Junior Rangers saw how vital rivers are for sustenance, culture, recreation, transportation, and biodiversity. They also learned the importance of the preservation and protection of these critical resources. Water sure is essential to many of our daily functions, and many of our state parks are centered around beautiful waterways that are homes to countless diverse ecosystems. Hopefully, Water Week gave Junior Rangers a glimpse into the importance of this resource and how we can preserve it for future generations.

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