Wednesday, 5 August 2015

International Rangers Day

To celebrate International Ranger Day - 31st July, the National Trust gathered its countryside staff alongside colleagues and peers from organisations such as Natural England, Cumbria Rivers Trust and United Utilities for a conference held at University of Cumbria's Ambleside campus.

International Ranger Day is an initiative of the International Union for Conservation (IUCN) and International Ranger Federation (IRF) which invites everyone to acknowledge the work done by Rangers in protecting our precious natural and cultural heritage.

Keynote speaker at the event was Gordon Miller from the IRF, who described the challenges faced by Rangers around the world working in Protected Areas.  He described the ever- increasing threats including poaching, encroachment on protected area and that rangers in the field often pay the ultimate price for their devotion to the task.

Gordon said of the event: “This past 12 months has seen over 50 rangers from 20 countries lose their lives to poachers, from others threatening their parks and accidents. Most losses are from homicide and others from accidents that illustrate the often hazardous environment that they face, particularly in developing countries.

“World Ranger Day gives us an opportunity to pay homage to those who have perished and urge governments to 'protect the protectors'.  The dedication of rangers, particularly in the developing world, deserves our gratitude if our precious protected areas are to remain havens for our diminishing natural and cultural assets.”  

Protected Areas – national parks, wilderness areas, community-conserved areas, nature reserves and so on – are a mainstay of biodiversity conservation, while also contributing to people’s livelihoods, particularly at the local level. Protected areas are at the core of efforts towards conserving nature and the services it provides us – food, clean water supply, medicines and protection from the impacts of natural disasters.

Sam Stalker, Lead Ranger for the National Trust in the western Lake District, and event organiser said:  “Opportunities for Rangers to get together and share their professional knowledge are few and far between – we’re almost always out in the landscape we love. Days like this give us a rare chance to share our conservation knowledge. “

The Ambleside celebration also included the announcement that the National Trust has become a corporate member of the Countryside Management Association. Sam added:

Membership of the Countryside Management Association strengthens the professional Ranger network both within the National Trust and with our colleagues elsewhere. It means we have a whole new network of Ranger colleagues to learn from and share best practice with.  We have chosen International Ranger Day to launch this membership, because it is a day for Rangers to come together as global profession and our membership builds links at a local, national and international level.

For more information about the International Rangers Federation and how you can get involved please visit their website at 

For an interesting look at International Ranger Day in Thailand, please click here to see a blog post from the IUCN

For more information about the Countryside Management association please visit their website at

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