Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
For Your Journal: Writing Prompt

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Do you keep a journal - or wish you could get one started? Literary Mama wants to help.

Three times a month, I'll post a writing prompt. Open a notebook and write for 10 minutes. Don't worry about grammar or punctuation - just write. Then let the writing simmer and your mind wander for awhile.

And who knows? Maybe you'll discover a character for your next short story or a theme for a narrative essay. Or maybe you'll use the idea to create a special holiday card or photo album for someone in your family. However you decide to use your journal entry, I know you'll enjoy re-reading it months--and years--down the road.

Writer and historian Wallace Stegner called national parks "the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst."

How much do you know about America's national parks? Match the park to its description.

1. Has the only inland rainforest in the contiguous United States
2. Protects Saguaro Cacti in its Sonoran Desert environment
3. Only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles co-exist
4. Named by Mormon settlers to recognize a place of peace and refuge
5. Windiest place on the Pacific Coast
6. Site of the first lighthouse and US-built fort on the West Coast and later, a federal penitentiary
7. Has 70 miles of natural beaches and is the longest remaining barrier island in the world
8. Is a 2,175 mile foot path through 14 eastern states
9. Considered one of the world's richest mammal fossil beds
10. Mountain range created by earthquakes

a. Everglades National Park, Florida
b. Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Maine to Georgia
c. Zion National Park, Utah
d. Mount Ranier National Park, Washington
e. Badlands National Park, South Dakota
f. Saguaro National Park, Arizona
g. Point Reyes National Seashore, California
h. Alcatraz Island National Recreation Area, California
i. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
j. Padre Island National Seashore, Texas

And: Can you finish these tips from the National Park Service Junior Ranger program?

Be Safe
Stay on _____ while hiking
Hike with a ______
Wear ______ shoes
Always carry water, food, and ____ ________

Be Respectful
Stay away from ______ __________
Don't pick plants or ___________
Keep parks _____

Journal Entry: How are you teaching your children to respect and care for nature? Write about a time your child experienced the "awe" of nature.

(Answers: 1d, 2f, 3a, 4c, 5g, 6h, 7j, 8b, 9e, 10i, trails, buddy, sturdy, sun protection, wild animals, wildflowers, clean)

Karna ConverseĀ is a freelance writer who’s written everything from technical documentation and price proposals to newsletter articles, devotionals, personal profiles and essays. Her essays have been published in a variety of regional and national publications, including The Christian Science Monitor, Notre Dame Magazine, the Cup of Comfort and Chicken Soup anthologies, Our Iowa, and on Iowa Public Radio. She and her husband are parents to three young adults. Karna is a former blog editor, senior editor, managing editor, and editor-in-chief of Literary Mama.

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