Junior Ranger News
1st EUROPARC Youth Conference a resounding success!
The voices of the young people of Europe gave a loud and clear message to European managers and directors of Protected Areas in Hungary last week; “We want to be heard!”
The youth conference was organized by the EUROPARC Federation to run alongside its 40th Anniversary celebration conference held in Debrecen, Hungary in partnership with Hortobágy National Park Directorate. Young people from all over Europe applied to attend the conference and had the full endorsement of their park directors to represent them. All of the participants have been previously involved in EUROPARC Junior Ranger activities.
The youth programme was partially integrated with the main programme of the conference so that all delegates could get to know and learn from each other, this was received very well on both sides and began the essential lines of communication. The main aim of the youth conference was to look at the role of young people in nature conservation over the next 40 years and to present their findings at the closing ceremony of the main conference. Through listening to the keynote speakers, going on the field trips and having their own workshops and discussions they came up with 3 clear messages for park managers:
- “We want green / nature (environmental) education to be a part of mainstream schooling throughout all of Europe and we want you to talk to your governments to help make this happen!”
- “We want there to be youth representation on the managing committees / boards of protected areas and for this voice to be taken seriously!”
- “We want you to create effective partnerships between parks, the public sector and private commercial organisations for the mutual benefit of all!”
Despite the short time for preparation the presentation of the youth, to the main conference went very well and received the loudest and most enthusiastic response of the evening! Alan Smith, one of the conference organisers commented: “The young people of Europe have done themselves proud and worked hard to create clear, coherent and relevant messages that reflect their passion and commitment to the future of nature in Europe, it was a privilege for us all to meet and to work with them.”
Tribute must go to the hard work, commitment and passion of the youth delegates; in a short space of time they demonstrated how people from diverse backgrounds but with a common cause can work together to great effect. Already the ripples are spreading through Europe with promises of new Junior Ranger Programmes in Romania, Wales and the Netherlands and of youth representation in Scotland and the UK. Laura Peters, a youth participant on the press conference said: “Our mission here is to go on the stage the last evening and tell the people our vision of the future, and we will do that!” And indeed, that was what they have managed to achieve, the youth presentation has been a clarion call to parks in Europe to think deeply about how the future guardians of nature are involved and nurtured not just in the future but from right now!
This initiative was possible thanks to the kind support of Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S.
12th International Junior Ranger Camp 2013
The EUROPARC Federation together with the Bavarian Forest National Park (Germany) hosted the camp from 13th to 21st July in the Wildnis Camp.
11th International Junior Ranger Camp 2012
The Triglav National Park, in partnership with the Prealpi Giulie Natural Park hosted the camp in July 2012.
10th International Junior Ranger Camp 2011
The Weerribben-Wieden National Park (Netherlands) hosted the 10th International Junior Ranger camp, from the16th to the 23rd of July 2011.
9th International Junior Ranger Camp
Mendip Hills AONB 24th - 31st of July 2010
The national Junior Ranger Program from EUROPARC Germany
The official start of the German national Junior Ranger Program was in June 2009 when 300 kids from 19 different parks came together in the Nationalpark Harz. In the coming years the German section is collaborating with WWF to strengthen this ambitious youth program. The aim is to connect children with their parks and to involve them in the duties and responsibilities of the protected areas. Besides the long term established intention to involve the youth living nearby the parks, the new program also focuses vacationers, students and kids at home via a “WebRangers” section – just to get them up and out in the parks. All together the German Junior Ranger Program is a four pillar program to attract kids wherever they are – in the park, school, at home or on holidays to gain future ambassadors for Germans protected areas.
International Junior Ranger Camp 2009
Junior Rangers for International Parks. EUROPARC Conference 2009.
The Conference 2009 was also an opportunity to concentrate on one of our most successful programmes: the Junior Ranger Network!
Kristin Biebl, a Junior Ranger from the Bayerischer Wald National Park (D), was invited to attend the conference this year as a representative for the Junior Rangers in Europe. She gave a fantastically moving speech, transmitting her emotions, passion and enthusiasm for being a Junior Ranger to the audience. “Young people will continue your work in the future” she said to the 300 attending protected area practitioners. “But we youngsters first need to learn what that means, we need to discover nature and protected area before taking over the responsibility for it. Because, why should young people love something they don’t know and that they don’t understand? We protect what we love!”
“Furthermore,” she added, “with the Junior Ranger activities and Camps, the solidarity between protected areas in Europe is becoming stronger and stronger. Future employees of national parks, having been part of the Junior Ranger programme, will already know each other and thereby work together more efficiently [...]. We won’t talk anymore about National Parks but about International Parks!”
The Cairngorms National Park Junior Ranger Project was launched in June 2009 involving 21 young people aged 12-15 in two 5 day programmes - one in Deeside and one in Strathspey.
The project helps meet Cairngorms National Park Priorities for Action to:
- Develop a programme of practical volunteering opportunities that link people to the special qualities of the Park.
- Develop a programme of activity to encourage people to become ambassadors for the Park, promoting messages about care, active enjoyment and wise use.
- The project also links in with EUROPARC Federation, a pan-European association of protected landscape areas. Its aims for young people are to:
- Create a network of youngsters who participate in nature protection by acting as advocates for their protected area.
- Improve youngsters’ knowledge and understanding of the Ranger profession.
- Raise awareness about the natural, cultural, social and economic values of protected areas.