Youth Rangers never turn their nose up at a job. No task is too muddy, too wet or too much hard work, as long as it’s for nature. During 2016 Youth Rangers have got stuck into their usual programme of conservation work including ditch blocking, bird box building, woodland work, car park improvements and ecology surveys. As well as this they’ve shared their enthusiasm, helping out at events such as the annual Bolving competition and participating in the Stanage Youth Forum.
Studies have shown that children are innately interested in nature, indeed they are fascinated by it. And that for them to remain connected to nature, all they need is successive, momentary experiences within it. Sadly the distractions of growing up in a modern technologically based world means that many young people lose interest in nature when they reach secondary school age. On the Eastern Moors we aim to support a journey of involvement, providing fun, age appropriate ways to become actively involved with nature conservation, whatever their age or ability. Three young people joined Youth Rangers this September having previously taken part in the Junior Ranger programme – our rewards programme for volunteers aged Under 18. A number of our Youth Rangers have also joined us to further their experiences through work placements from school including Sam, a Youth Ranger who is now joining us during the week for further volunteering and training before he starts his Zoology degree and hopefully progresses into a conservation career!
It is now possible to be involved with the Eastern Moors right from aged two as a “Ranger Tot”, through to Junior Rangers, Youth Rangers, Work Placements and all the way up to adulthood as one of our valued volunteers.
To recognise their achievement and commitment to helping nature, this year the Youth Ranger group participated in the John Muir Award. Eighteen young people gained their John Muir Award with several more achieving the Peak Park Award. Both awards recognise a commitment to discover, explore, conserve and share your love of a “wild” place.
Here’s what a few of them had to say about their experience of volunteering this year...
In Youth Rangers this year I have enjoyed everything from bracken bashing to the Stanage trip but mostly I have enjoyed being with good, kind, people whose strong wills and love for the natural world around us is second to none. I learnt that even the coldest and darkest days can’t stop the will of determined mind and that whatever the weather throws at us we keep going.
In the Youth Ranger group this year I have enjoyed all of the sessions, but my particular favourites have been tree felling and meadow surveying at Curbar Gap, and bird ringing early in the year. As always, this year I have learnt a lot about the environment that surrounds me and how the delicate balances between humans and the natural world create the Moors and its ecosystem.
I always look forward to the Ranger sessions, as they allow me to leave behind the stress of school for a few hours and let me indulge in what I love: being outside and conservation work. I like the Rangers that run the sessions, and feel as if I have gained many friends with common interests as myself. We always have a great time, and are always guaranteed to learn something new. I especially love the winter sessions, as not only do we get hot chocolate, it is magical to be out on the Moors during the winter seasons.
The Youth Rangers are a fantastic team and an absolute joy to work with – even when they annihilate the biscuits before the leaders get so much as a sniff! We’re looking forward to 2017 when they will be volunteering to plant trees, repair paths and get very mucky as the help take care of a special place for people and wildlife.
If you know or are a young person with a passion for nature then please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org You can also find out more about volunteering for all on our website: www.visit-eastern-moors.org.uk