Habitat Heroes Campaign 2018 & 2019

Meet our #HabitatHeroes: Junior Rangers for Protected Areas and Natura 2000

Being a Junior Ranger means having a lot of fun exploring nature with peers, growing confidence, experiencing team spirit and building some practical skills through real conservation work in the outdoors. It means learning about the value of biodiversity, growing a sense of ownership – a wish to look after our natural spaces and to inspire others to do the same. Being a Junior Ranger means being a true Habitat Hero!

Natura 2000 is the world’s largest network of Protected Areas and safeguards some of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats. In Protected Areas all over Europe, EUROPARC Junior Rangers learn about and contribute to the conservation of our natural treasures.

Junior Rangers from across Europe share a common experience – a common mission even. They explore, they learn about the importance of Protected Areas and actively contribute to improve the status of habitats and species protected under the EU Bird and Habitats Directives. And Junior Rangers don’t stop there: Time after time, they grow strong ambassadors for our Protected Areas and share their passion to care for our nature with their peers.

The Habitat Heroes Campaign 2018 & 2019

We want to make Junior Rangers’ conservation efforts visible – from their own perspective. So we asked Junior Ranger groups to share their thoughts on three questions with us in the way they want. Using words, pictures, videos, drawings – and any other form of expression that proves handy and fun.

  • Tell us all about your “natural treasure”: Which is the species or habitat you learn and work with the most in your Protected Area? What is special about it?
  • Describe us what you and your fellow Junior Rangers are doing/will do to learn more and protect your natural treasure. Do you even teach others?
  • What do you find tricky being a Junior Ranger – and what is the best thing about it?

The replies show: Junior Rangers are not only curious and thoughtful folk. They also have great creativity and  impressive knowledge about their “natural treasures” which they are keen to share.

So, meet the EUROPARC Habitat Heroes and enjoy exploring the fantastic work groups across Europe undertake to study, share and take care of their local flora, fauna and habitats in Protected Areas!

Hunt and Gather for Habitat Heroes: A Map of Junior Ranger activities across Europe

Take Habitat Heroes Action – get inspired by our 4 Campaign Pioneers!

1) Kullaberg Nature Reserve, Sweden

Junior Rangers in Kullaberg Nature Reserve ©Tor Larsson (Mentor, Kullaberg Nature Reserve)

The Kullaberg Nature Reserve is located in the south west of Sweden and is the country’s most visited nature reserve. With more than half a million visitors each year and several commercial companies engaging in activities such as scuba diving, rock climbing and mountain biking, there is a lot of work needed to maintain Kullaberg a sustainable tourism destination. Learn in our first #HabitatHeroes campaign article how the Junior Rangers from Kullaberg Nature Reserve help protect their natural treasure!

__________________________________________________________________________

2) Dartmoor National Park, UK

©Orlando Rutter, (Senior Learning & Outreach Officer Dartmoor National Park Authority)

Dartmoor National Park is not only home to the biggest moorland in the south of England, but also to an awarded group of dedicated Habitat Heroes: In November, Dartmoor Junior Rangers received the Group Award at the National Parks UK Volunteer Awards 2018 ! For all their solid work in supporting the conservation of Dartmoor’s nature and inspiring peers to do the same! Find out more about the Dartmoor NP Habitat Heroes, their park and the conservation activities that brought them the UK Volunteer Award: #HabitatHeroes Campaign Article No. 2

_________________________________________________________________________

3) Lake Pfaeffikon, Switzerland

©Yannick Bucher

With Lake Pfaeffikon, Junior Rangers can call a very special place their “natural treasure”. It is the 2nd biggest lake right after Lake Greifensee and besides, it’s also the one holding the clearest water in the whole Swiss “Kanton” (kind of “federal state”) of Zurich. It is one of the most important and one of the largest wetlands and nature reserves of the Swiss plateau (Mittelland). Learn what Junior Rangers did this year to help educate visitors and keep their lake clean! #HabitatHeroes Campaign Article No. 3

________________________________________________________________________

4) Northumberland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, UK

©Jane Smith (Youth Worker, Coast Care Young Rangers)

The Northumberland coast in the Northeast of England offers very diverse and important habitats for thousands of plants and animals. Every spring you get to watch seabirds arriving to the offshore islands, whinstone cliffs and some of the beaches. In summer time you will find more than 140,000 breeding pairs of seabirds. November was a pretty active month for the Coast Care Young Rangers of the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. They took some hands-on conservation action around Whin Sill – one of the UK’s, most significant geological features! Check out what their Habitat Hero action looked like here.

________________________________________________________________________

5) Bavarian Forest National Park, Germany

Junior Rangers in Bavarian Forest National Park

The Bavarian Forest National Park is the oldest national park in Germany. It is a largely forested medium-range mountain landscape which is highly characteristic for Central Europe. Thanks to the Park management that aims to protect natural processes, the forest has seen a successful reintroduction of the ural owl. As 2019 marked the 40th anniversary of the EU Birds Directive, the Junior Rangers took part in preparations of the Park’s events specially dedicated to the ural owl. Read also the full article about the Junior Rangers from the Bavarian Forest National Park!

________________________________________________________________________

6) Biebrza National Park, Poland

Junior Rangers Biebrza National Park

Biebrza National Park protects one of the biggest fens in Europe and is the largest National Park in Poland. The Biebrza Wetlands are renowned as an important breeding, feeding and stop over site for many waterfowl and wetland birds. For such endangered species as the aquatic warbler, spotted eagle or great snipe, the Biebrza Valley is one of the last remaining refuges in Europe. The Park started its Junior Ranger Programme in September 2014 and until now remains the only one in the country to run Junior Ranger. Read the full article about how the Habitat Heroes from the Biebrza National Park help to protect their ‘natural treasure’ – the Biebrza river and its beautiful valley.

________________________________________________________________________

7) Peak District National Park, UK

Junior Ranger Peak District

The Peak District National Park in central England is full of diverse landscapes and home to many rare species. It is for example the only place in England where mountain hares occur. The moorlands, mainly found in the North, are a very sensitive environment, often damaged by fires, so it is very important to look after them. The Park runs six Junior Ranger groups, divided by locations. They learn practical conservation tasks, as well as navigation and bushcraft skills, and help engage other people with the park at events. Read the full article about how the Habitat Heroes from the Peak District National Park help to protect their ‘natural treasure’.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Want to join the campaign? We are happy to learn about your conservation action – just drop us a mail: f.minozzi_at_europarc.org

Learn more about our Junior Ranger groups and discover our network across Europe and beyond!

Follow our Junior Rangers on Facebook and take a video tour with them.