WORLD RANGER DAY July 31, 2007
WHAT IS WORLD RANGER DAY?
The International Ranger Federation was founded to support the work of Rangers as the key protectors of the worlds protected areas. At the IRF Scotland World Congress of Rangers in 2006, delegates decided that July 31 of each year, beginning in 2007, would be a day dedicated to world rangers. This first World Ranger Day will fall on the 15th anniversary of the founding of IRF on July 31, 1992.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
IRF is calling on its member associations, protected area agencies, individual rangers, sponsors, and the world public to initiate or join in an event or activity that recognises world conservation areas, and the professional staff – the Rangers – that form the “The Thin Green Line” around these most valuable resources.
The simultaneous World Premier of the Documentary, “The Thin Green Line” in hundreds of locations throughout the world on July 31 is the primary method to recognise World Ranger Day this year. We urge everyone to join, or better yet, host an event showing this original documentary of Rangers working in the field throughout the world. For further information, go to the documentary’s website thingreenline.info.
Other ways in which you can recognise World Ranger Day:
· Pay a moment’s respect to rangers who have lost their lives in the course of duty.
· Mention the role of the world’s Rangers in a scheduled guided walk or talk with park visitors and partners.
· Host a special public event in or near your park dedicated to the work of Rangers in your particular area, and the similarities with Rangers around the world.
· Meet with your local communities, partners, and supporting groups to talk about the role of Rangers, the work of the IRF, and how they can help support Rangers and protected areas.
· Visit a school – engage the youth in the future of world parks, biodiversity, and conservation.
· Invite a Ranger from another country or park to join you and your co-workers for a week in your park, to include July 31.
· If you are a Ranger, meet with your colleagues to discuss World Ranger Day and the role of Rangers, including the work of IRF.
· Using World Ranger Day events, seek partners and donors interested in supporting and sustaining the work in your protected area, and the IRF.
· Have fun! Celebrate your role in protecting the world’s natural and cultural treasures.
A LITTLE HISTORY
In 1872, Yellowstone National Park in the United States became the world’s first federally designated national park. Since then, over 100,000 protected areas, representing more than 10% of the earth’s landmass, have been established around the world, according to the IUCN.
The English word “ranger” reflects the guardians of the Royal Forests in 14th century England, protecting the King’s lands from poachers. Today, Rangers in protected areas throughout the world continue this role. Rangers are the key force protecting these resources from impairment. They do this through law enforcement, environmental education, community relations, fighting fires, conducting search and rescues, and in many other ways caring for protected areas and their visitors.
“If a trail is to be blazed, send a ranger; if an animal is floundering in the snow, send a ranger; if a bear is in a hotel, send a ranger; if a fire threatens a forest, send a ranger; and if someone needs to be saved, send a ranger.”
– Steven T. Mather, First Director of the U.S. National Park Service, 1916.
As the principal guardians of the world’s premier natural and cultural protected areas, Rangers:
· Are the key force in the field between preservation and loss and destruction of those protected areas;
· Are uniquely positioned and qualified to monitor the health of resources, assess problems, and provide for future solutions based on current knowledge;
· Are the critical connection between parks and the public, with a fundamental role in educating the public;
· Are involved in complex and critical tasks in preservation, often living and working in dangerous conditions, and take risks in protecting these special places;
· Need continued government and public support in protecting resources for future generations.
The IRF defines a ranger as “the person involved in the practical protection and preservation of all aspects of wild areas, historical and cultural sites. Rangers provide recreational opportunities and interpretation of sites while providing links between local communities, protected areas and area administration.”
IRF PRINCIPLES AND THE ZAKOPANE DECLARATION
At the first IRF World Ranger Congress in 1995 in Zakopane, Poland, the delegates representing 35 nations on 6 continents committed themselves and the IRF to a series of principles. These have become the core mission of the IRF, and a key document supporting the work of rangers. Download the 8 principles of Ranger work.
RANGER CODE OF ETHICS
At the second IRF World Congress in 1997 in San Jose, Costa Rica, the delegates adapted a Code of Ethics with 16 canons for the professional conduct of Rangers. All IRF member associations are encouraged to adopt the Code. (Código De Ética)
CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
Signed by 150 government leaders at the 1992 IUCN Rio Earth Summit in Brazil, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is a global effort to save biological diversity, promote its sustainable use, and ensure that benefits are distributed equitably. In the convention’s 8th Article, the CBD commits all government parties to establish systems of protected areas to conserve in situ biodiversity. In the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas, as well as in the approved recommendations from the Vth World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa, the necessity to have Rangers and other skilled and well-trained staff to carry out fundamental roles in the management and conservation of protected areas was fully recognised. The IRF supports the work of the CBD and the Programme of Work on Protected Areas.