National Parks Expedition

National Park Expedition

The National Park Service protects and preserves some of the most important natural and historical treasures in the United States. You may have never noticed, but the NPS arrowhead emblem tells the story of what rangers protect at every National Park site.

Let’s discover the treasures at the park where you are by exploring each element of the NPS arrowhead.

Plant Life
Plant life is the foundation of every ecosystem. Trees provide shelter, flowers support pollinators, grasses feed herds. Some parks are even built around special plants (Saguaro, Joshua Tree, Sequoia), but all plants are important.
Big or small, what plant life do you see?
  • Trees

  • Flowers

  • Grasses

  • Cacti

Q. Think about one of the plants you found. How do you think it might support the ecosystem?

From great herds of bison to the smallest skittering beetle, the NPS protects the living creatures within the park. Every animal in the park is part of the ecosystem that rangers are preserving.
Pretend you are a wildlife biologist ranger and make a count of the animals you see.


Birds can be found in many places. Hopping along the ground hunting worms, singing in the trees, or soaring overhead. Different birds are active at different times of day. How many birds can you count?


Reptiles & Amphibians

Coldblooded reptiles like lizards and snakes are often found warming in a sunny spot. Amphibians like frogs and salamanders are often found near water. How many reptiles and amphibians can you count?



Mammals vary in size and shape dramatically. From burrowing rodents to bounding deer, these furry creatures are everywhere. Humans belong to the mammal class. How many mammals can you count?



Insects and arthropods are animals with hard exoskeletons. Ants, butterflies, spiders, millipedes, bees, and mosquitos are just some examples of this type of animal. How many arthropods can you count?

The United States is filled with incredible stories that date back thousands of years. One of the NPS goals is to uncover, preserve, and share those stories with visitors.
What is the oldest object or structure you can find? How old is it?
  • 10+ Years

  • 50+ Years

  • 150+ Years

  • 500+ Years

Q. What can you find about who or what culture built this structure?

The trails you hike, the lakes you paddle, the vistas you view, and the campgrounds where you pitch your tent are part of the NPS’s mission to provide meaningful recreation opportunities to all people.
What kinds of recreation opportunities can you find?
  • Biking

  • Hiking

  • Camping

  • Boating

Q. Can you find ways the NPS has made recreation possible for people who visit?

National Park Service
One of the most important resources of the National Park Service is the team of rangers. Rangers do all kinds of work in the parks including, interpretation & education, law enforcement, maintenance, science, trail work, and more.
Look for NPS employees doing different jobs. Ask about their job. What do they do?

When you finish your hike, tap the button below to TRACK your adventure!