Eight-year-old Charlie Crichton of Highlands Ranch loves his neighborhood park, Cheese Ranch Historic & Natural Area. Charlie also loves the outdoors. So when Charlie learned about the Highlands Ranch Metro District’s Park Host program, he wanted to sign up.
Charlie filled out the volunteer application, sought letters of reference from friends and his teacher at Fox Creek Elementary, and he was accepted into the Park Host Program. Charlie is the Metro District’s youngest Park Host.
“I want to take care of my favorite park (Cheese Ranch Historic & Natural Area) because I do so much fun stuff here,” said Charlie. “And I might want to be a park ranger someday.”
As a Park Host, Charlie will be an ambassador in the community’s parks and along our trails. During his walking or biking tour, he will serve as the eyes and ears for Metro District Park Rangers and report back to the rangers after each patrol.
Metro District Park Ranger Laura Lacerte conducted Charlie’s training and walk-about at Cheese Ranch Historic & Natural Area. They talked about the wildlife and native vegetation in the area in addition to a review of park rules.
“It is great to see a young man take such an interest in the environment and want to give back to his community,” said Lacerte. “From the time I spent with Charlie it became clear he loves the outdoors and wants to learn more about it and how to take care of it.”
Charlie loves fishing, camping, skiing, biking, geocaching and too many more interests to name. He also participates in a volunteer club at his school called Kids Caring for Kids with Cancer. In Charlie’s words, “It’s a program for giving kindness to kids with cancer.”
Charlie will volunteer at Cheese Ranch Historic & Natural Area periodically each week. If you see him on your visit to the natural area, please say hi and welcome the new park host. He is happy to answer any questions you may have about the area.