Nordic Junior Ranger Project: Visiting the King’s Road in Norway
Valdres Natur- og Kulturpark
Region & country
From the 16th to the 20th of October 2023, Valdres Nature and Culture Park and their Junior Rangers were visited by Junior Rangers from Kullaberg Nature Reserve in Sweden and Fredrikshavn Kommune in Denmark for a joint nature-culture week funded by the Volt Nordic Culture Fund. The aim was to learn about how the local people in the area lived and used knowledge of the land to create sustainable societies across the centuries.
The visit took place from the 16th to the 20th of October 2023. During this week, we hosted 6 Danish and 7 Swedish Junior Rangers, their mentors and 21 local Norwegian Junior Rangers.
The group of Junior Rangers from Norway, Denmark and Sweden
Identifying local plant species
Background of the project
Valdres has been a regional park and a Nature and Culture park, since 2007. Before the Junior Ranger Programme there were very few learning activities outside the school classroom, despite a long history of sustainable use of the area. The Junior Ranger programme aims to take the students outside and put them into the context of the landscape through which they can learn about this history and how it relates to today.
Our Junior Ranger Programme aims to connect young people with the rich natural and cultural history. We wanted to open up the opportunity to other Junior Ranger programmes to visit and experience this heritage for themselves. We also wanted to connect with the other Junior Ranger Programmes as we were not able to join in other international projects such as the International Junior Ranger Camp in the summer.
Solution and actions taken
The Nordic Culture Point has a fund for young people called Volt. The EUROPARC Directorate helped us to coordinate with the Junior Ranger programmes in the other Nordic countries and together we planned an exchange programme for the Danish and Swedish Junior Rangers to travel to Norway by ferry and spend a week learning about the local nature and history, sharing their experiences, languages and making friends.
Over the course of the week, the Junior Rangers visited the Kings Roads and learn about different cultural lifestyles. They saw the differences in life deep in the fjord in Lærdal, in the steep but sheltered mountain sides and life on a mountain farm that has not been inhabited for several generations. We saw the diversity of plants and insects, and how quickly the landscape regenerates when it is not used. We visited 900 year old stave churches.
Other institutions or parties involved
The project was supported by the other Junior Ranger programmes, Frederikshavn Kommune and Kullaberg Nature Reserve. The funding application was successfully chosen by the Nordic Culture Point. The 10% co-funding assistance was given by the Vang municipality.
We have established contact with other countries and their Junior Rangers, and want to develop our Junior Ranger Programme to also visit other areas and countries to get inspired and learn by comparing and sharing knowledge.
The main challenge was the funding. We had only 3 days after our first meeting with all three Junior Ranger programmes to submit the application. Originally, we aimed to have the budget be under 7000€ which didn’t require any co-funding but later we discovered that a 10% co-funding was required. This was an unexpected challenge but we are in the process of obtaining assistance from a local municipality to cover this expense.
The Junior Rangers (and mentors) learnt that;
– The local natural resources are the foundation of the local community and provides different prerequisites for how to use the land, build and live
– The survival of a culture means planning over generations
– Practical activities and involvement bring us closer to those who lived here and used the land before us
– Adaptation to mountain landscapes requires a different kind of knowledge
Valdres Natur- og Kulturpark
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