Rangers in the making

Laura White
Laura White

Nineteen teenagers have been recognised for their dedicated hard work and efforts towards conserving Dartmoor National Park as part of the Dartmoor National Park  Authority’s (DNPA) Junior and Youth Ranger schemes.

The group have been working hard since April this year, and were
presented with an armful of certificates celebrating their achievements at a ‘graduation’ ceremony at Parke on Saturday, 16th November.

In a new approach piloted by DNPA, the teenagers were able to work towards a range of achievements: a Junior or Youth Ranger Award, a John Muir Conserver Award, a Europarc Junior Ranger Certificate and the
Institute of Outdoor Learning’s
National Outdoor Learning Award.

During the ceremony, the teenagers were presented with their certificates, with the National Park congratulating
them for their achievements and thanking them for their inspiring and committed work.

Authority Chair Pamela Woods said: “We were very impressed with their presentations, all of which were
delivered with humour, inspiration and confidence. They all showed they’d built a connection with the natural world and, at the same time, developed self-esteem and social skills which will be of great benefit in the years to come.

‘The project is mutually beneficial: young people build their skills and experience while carrying out tasks useful to the environment, landscape and culture on Dartmoor. In turn, Dartmoor benefits from their enthusiasm and commitment which they may carry forward into the rest of their lives, inspiring others to do the same.

‘The programme reflects DNPA’s confidence in young people to contribute significantly to the preservation and enhancement of Dartmoor’s special qualities. Well done to everyone involved!”

Of the 19 involved, 13 completed the Junior Ranger scheme which connects young people aged between 13 – 16 with the special qualities of Dartmoor while promoting conservation, understanding, enjoyment and responsible use.

This involves completing a range of practical conservation tasks including clearing invasive vegetation, footpath maintenance and litter picking. This was combined with valuable learning experiences linked to the environment such as a ‘citizen science’ survey for the charity Plantlife.

The remaining six completed the Youth Rangers scheme, which has been developed by DNPA this year for 16 – 18 year olds, in response to the growing appetite among young people to learn more about this special landscape.

This scheme includes more challenging and stimulating activities, such as a two-day certificated stone walling course. Participants also completed a set amount of volunteering work, with the added bonus it would help them achieve a John Muir Conserver Award, something which represents 20 days (or equivalent) time commitment in discovering, exploring, conserving and sharing their Dartmoor experience.

As well as their Junior/Youth Ranger certificates, all were given John Muir, Europarc Junior Ranger and National Outdoor Learning awards.

Ranger Team Manager Simon Lee said: “It was fantastic seeing everyone get stuck in, try new things and learn more about Dartmoor. I am really impressed with how hard they all worked.

‘They were all tireless in their commitment to voluntary conservation work. They are all excellent ambassadors for Dartmoor National Park and I am
really pleased their work has been recognised.”

Local Life