European Ranger Project

"Promoting environment literacy through integrated youth and ranger training programmes"

INTRODUCTION

The European Ranger Project was a two year project (August 1998 - July 2000) developed and managed by Losehill Hall, in partnership with the International Ranger Federation and funded by the Jacobs Foundation of Switzerland.

There were three main objectives of the project:

  1. to develop and pilot a European Ranger Award Scheme, building consensus amongst key institutions providing training for professional rangers, and agree moves toward standardisation of training content, delivery and accreditation.
  2. to encourage young people to undertake stimulating environmental projects in conjunction with professional rangers
  3. To establish a detailed database of existing training and development procedures amongst the professional ranger services of Europe

A Steering Group consisting of representatives of Ranger Associations and Ranger Training Centres from across Europe monitored the progress of the Project and gave advice on the implementation of the objectives.

PROJECT ACHIEVEMENTS

1. Ranger Training

Extensive consultation of rangers across Europe by questionnaire and use of the website (www.euroranger.com) gave a picture of current ranger training provision across Europe and where improvements could be made.
Following the recommendations from this consultation process, the Project Steering Group has written a European Standard for Ranger Training based on the Six Losehill Principles.

2. Youth/ Ranger Pilot Scheme

The second objective of the project was to develop and pilot a European Youth Ranger Scheme in which participants would undertake a series of self-motivated projects in co-operation with professional rangers, with study units corresponding to the six core elements (the Losehill Principles) identified as being fundamental to the work of a ranger.

The detailed programme for the pilot was devised after discussion with rangers and with people involved in working with young people. Information from previous youth camps, and opinion from young people attending those camps, was incorporated in the proposal.
Between January and July 2000 pilot schemes were commenced in Austria, England (2), Germany (3), Portugal, Scotland (2), Slovakia (2), Sweden and Wales, involving 16 rangers and 33 young people, many of whom were from disadvantaged backgrounds. A summary of the responses to the pilot scheme clearly indicates the benefits that the young people considered that they had achieved. Following participation in the Youth/Ranger Pilot Scheme several young people have been successful in obtaining employment or in being accepted for a place at college.

3. International Youth Camp

Although the initial Project did not include an International Youth Camp, the Steering Group decided that it would be appropriate to complete the two years of the programme and the six months of the Youth/Ranger Pilot Scheme with a camp and seminar for the rangers and young people who had participated in the pilot scheme.
The camp was held in July 2000 under canvas at the Peak District National Park's Fieldhead camp site in Edale with a full programme of activities. This was followed by a two day programme of seminars and workshops at Losehill Hall to assess the results of the Youth/Ranger Pilot Scheme.

4. Database

The third project objective was to establish a detailed database of existing training and development procedures amongst the professional ranger services of Europe. In order to do this a questionnaire was developed and distributed to rangers across Europe.
Contacts were made with 1057 parks, organisations and individuals across most of Europe. From the 48 countries in Europe identified, 42 were contacted. Approximately 5000 questionnaires were sent out.
Data from the questionnaires was entered into a database and analysed. A 'Training and Youth Links Database Report' outlining the findings of the research was produced and circulated early in 2000.

CONCLUSIONS

The final meeting of the project Steering Group agreed the following main conclusions and actions for the future:

  • The International Ranger Federation will support and promote the continuation of the Youth/Ranger Pilot Scheme as 'The Jacobs Model for Youth Links with Rangers', and will actively seek funding to develop the model.
  • The Project Steering Group will continue to act as an 'Advisory Board' for The Jacobs Model.
  • Members of the Steering Group will write 'Standards for Ranger Training' based on the six Losehill Principles.
  • The International Ranger Federation will maintain and develop the databases associated with the European Ranger Project and will continue the brand name 'Euroranger'.
  • The International Ranger Federation will pursue the proposals of the Training of Protected Area Staff (TOPAS) project for which Leonardo II funding has been successfully sought by a consortium of partners across Europe.