2017 International Junior Ranger Camp

The 16th edition of the International Junior Ranger Camp took place in Habkern, Switzerland, between the 17th and 22nd of July.

The camp was organised by the Swiss Rangers Association, under the theme “Team Nature”, with 45 participants representing 14 protected areas from 10 countries from all over Europe.

Team Nature building relations at the Junior Ranger Camp 2017

During the camp we have been looking at the various players needed to have a successful team for nature conservation. For this, the Swiss Rangers proposed to participants a very interesting, fun and diversified programme.

Who’s part of the Team Nature?

During the camp we first looked at the role of protected areas and Natura 2000 sites across Europe. We then considered the role of Rangers, with a very nice introduction made by Thomas Herren, the President of the Swiss Ranger Association. And then Junior Rangers showed their experience and activities with very creative videos, presentations, games and even beautiful traditional dances.

The conservation of biodiversity and the maintenance of the Alpine landscapes wouldn’t be possible without the work of farmers, breeders, hunters, foresters and many others… During the camp we discovered how important and hard work it is to keep pastures open and clean so that cattle can graze and produce good milk for great CHEESE!

Visiting a cheese factory

Sharing knowledge

The camp has been also an opportunity to learn more from the expertise of the Mentors and Rangers: how to light a fire from stones; what’s the correct safety position in case of emergency; how bat can catch flies in darkness; which solutions to minimise impact on nature when you are a landscape planner; how many species depend on the woodpecker in the forest; how to build a rope with grass … and much, much more…

Junior Rangers jumping over a grass-made rope

Junior Rangers jumping over a grass-made rope. Photo by Swiss Rangers.

And the activities did not ended there, as we have been also exploring the surroundings, observing wild fauna (chamois, ibex, roe deer, red deer… and some strange … Aaarrrr … lions), visiting the famous Reichenbach waterfalls where Sherlock Holms almost died, we have been climbing, playing beach volley and doing plenty other creative activities.

The camp has definitely been a great success. Here some of the words of the participants:

I’ve learned how to make cheese and maintain meadows; discovered how cold is the water from glaciers; learned more about rangers work; learned to work together in a team; discovered how different organisations across different countries, all similarly work to protect nature; I’ve found my dream job; I’ve learned the importance of trusting and respecting each other; learned that cows in the mountains produce 10-15 liters of milk per day; seen new fantastic landscapes; we had delicious cheese; in Switzerland, in case of doubt, have some cheese; discovered and played alphorns; you can have best time even without internet connection…

A big thank you goes to the Swiss Rangers for taking the lead in organizing this beautiful camp. As usual we are grateful to the Rangers and Mentors for their dedication, passion and very effective support.

Follow us on facebook for updates on the Junior Ranger Programme activities and future Junior Ranger Camps, and have a look on the pictures of the International Junior Ranger Camp 2017. And remember, we are all “Team Nature”!

See you all next year in Mueritz National Park!