On 31 July every year, World Ranger Day, organised by the International Ranger Federation, celebrates the critical work rangers do to protect and conserve both the natural environment and the cultural heritage of more than 100,000 reserves and parks across the planet.
The duties of these often-unsung heroes vary from country to country, from protecting mountain gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcano National Park to advising campers on fire safety in the Australian Outback.
In Britain, like many other countries, rangers provide a vital point of contact between countryside visitors, residents and local authorities.
They are also responsible for maintaining these sites, with roles ranging from the upkeep of footpaths, gates, stiles and bridges to educating the public on sustainable walking, camping and farming practices.
One of the best ways to understand the amazing role Britain’s rangers play in the protection of our countryside is by working alongside them. There are lots of ways to get involved – and here are five of the best.
Pack your boots and head to Cornwall and Devon for a day out with a park ranger. Learn about the work they do and pick up some new and exciting skills, such as den building, pizza making, hunting for bugs and more. The next meet up is on 2 August, but with events running throughout the year, there are lots of chances to get involved. Find out more here.
UK national parks rely on those hardworking and happy people who give up their spare time to keep our countryside healthy. With lots to learn – including repairing and maintaining uplands paths, conducting archaeological surveys, leading people around the fells on guided walks, supporting the team in the Head Office, meeting and greeting visitors at the centres or working on practical conservation tasks – it’s a fulfilling way to spend a day. Find out more about volunteering.
Learn how to identify animal tracks, discover the secrets of the forest by night and uncover the wonders of the woodland ecosystem with Forest Holidays. Choose from a range of affordable courses, including Mini Forest Rangers, Forest Survival and Forest Night Vision, and discover the secrets of the trees.
If you enjoy fresh air, new faces and a physical challenge, this alternative activity break is for you. The National Trust’s working holidays give you a chance to work alongside the experts, gaining new skills and making friends. Take on an island adventure on Brownsea Island, repair footpaths in Carmarthenshire or plant trees in the Snowdonia mountains.
Journey to your favourite national park, sleep in a remote lodge and work alongside expert rangers with a national park residential. Learn to build a fire at the Danywenallt Study Centre in the Brecon Beacons, identify animal species in the Lakes or take on a wildlife walk in Snowdonia.
Subscribe to BBC Countryfile Magazine today and you can enjoy generous savings from the shop price plus, free UK delivery and discounts off special editions and back issues.