The Junior Ranger project

The Junior Ranger project is an offer for children from the National Park region to discover the park accompanied by a ranger. It is not about rote learning, but rather about experiencing living wilderness with its diverse ecosystems. The program includes hillwalking to the scenic attractions, excursions through the animal parks, tours through the visitor centers and experiencing the ranger work. As a result, children begin to see the national park as “their” National Park and carry the national park philosophy with enthusiasm to their families. The Junior Ranger project not only is a successful educational program for children and adolescents, it also helps boosting the acceptance of the National Park among the public.



Place of origin: Yosemite National Park, California / USA 
Year of origin: 1930 with the foundation of the Junior Nature School. To this day, the US Junior Ranger Project has been organized by the National Park Ranger Service 
Start in Germany: August 1998 in the Bavarian Forest National Park under the direction of the National Park Watch (Ranger service). Started with 12 adolescents at the age of 13 from schools in the communities of the National Park. 
Its goal: In our densely populated country it is only possible to successfully protect nature on a permanent basis, if we succeed in making as many people as possible aware of nature protection. Protected areas need the support of the local people and the acceptance of the general public. Instead of sitting tight and wait, we have to actively approach the public. It is the goal of the Junior Ranger project to enthuse young people with the National Park. Accompanied by experienced rangers the children discover the wild nature of the National Park with all its scenic attractions. 
Organization and realization: After the Easter holidays, rangers of the National Park visit all the schools of the communities in the National Park region. Children aged 11-12 who are interested in the program fill in the registration form they have been given and state which week of the holiday program they prefer to take part in. 
Costs of participation: In return for a contribution towards cost of € 10, the children receive a Junior Ranger baseball cap, a name tag and a Junior Ranger badge. At the end there is also a barbecue where the children can eat for free. The holiday program is four days long and ends with a final celebration where the children are given a certificate by the director of the National Park. 
Participant development 1998 – 2013: To the present day an overall of 2267 children from the National Park communities has participated in the Junior Ranger holiday program.