2009 International Junior Ranger Camp

Participants at International Junior Ranger Camp 2009, Parc Natural del Aiguamolls de l’Empordà (ES) © EUROPARC Federation

Junior Ranger Camp 2009 – A new experience

It is quite difficult to try give you a glimpse of such an event, while you are comfortably sitting in front of your screen if you have never been to an international Junior Ranger (JR) Camp.

In this article I will do my best to give you a small insight into this year’s exciting, inspiring and sociable camp, which took place in the wonderful Catalonian protected area of Parc Natural del Aiguamolls de l’Empordà.

You probably noticed that kids today live in quite a superficial way. In fact they are hurriedly dragged over this world, with pressure to make new experiences that transmit immediate perceptions and results. They are frequently seized by the stream, without the heart, and sometimes without the power, to enjoy and to deepen the present.

So what is our role here? And how can we expect youth to develop any sort of interest for nature protection, if we are unable to convey curiosity, passion and reasons which may bring to their continuous run to a halt?

I think the JR Camp tried to answer these questions. It gave all participants the opportunity to stop, to take time to look around and to discover a new habitat where, through a rich mixture of emotions and practical activities, everybody played his or her part to make the camp successful! Each participant brought the most important experiences that they had already learnt from their Junior Ranger circle to the camp: the enthusiasm for being part of a wide international family, the passion for discovering protected areas and the desire to make new friends.

Now you will hopefully be starting to understand what the Camp looked like a little bit more. The camp boasted 46 participants, coming from 12 different protected areas, and 9 different European countries. It focused on climate change and on food education through specific, exciting and new activities every day.

The Junior Rangers and their mentors worked together to calculate their everyday emissions and to weigh and separate rubbish. We also learned more about the importance of eating good clean and fair food. Every day fresh fruit and vegetables were picked and bought at a local organic farm, and traditional, local recipes were cooked together with a representative of the Slow Food Organisation. Participants also helped the park with some very practical work: cleaning the beach and building a new special path for the senses, to help visitors interpret nature.

If you have further queries please contact Federico Minozzi at junior-ranger@europarc.org.