July 31st was World Ranger Day.
“World Ranger Day commemorates rangers killed or injured in the line of duty, and celebrates the work rangers do to protect the world’s natural and cultural treasures.” – International Ranger Federation.
World Ranger Day has taken place each year since 2007, and many around the world take part by organising events to help commemorate, increase awareness, and raise money for The Thin Green Line (a charity “dedicated to protecting endangered species and threatened ecosystems by supporting park rangers”).
Lee Valley Regional Park held a Disc Golf Challenge to celebrate World Ranger Day and raise money for The Thin Green Line. As a member of the Countryside Management Association, I attended the event with some of my Thurrock Ranger colleagues. We competed in teams of two around the new frisbee golf course in Lee Valley Country Park, Hertfordshire – all nine holes (or baskets) of frisbee fun. At the event, Thurrock Rangers presented a cheque for The Thin Green Line, having raised £400 through a “Glowing in the Dark” glow-worm night and other activities.
I found the Disc Golf Challenge challenging, but enjoyable – although finishing with a respectable score, I managed to spend much of my time hunting for the frisbee in the long grass and scrub. This was also a great chance to see more of the Lea Valley, and meet some counterparts from Lee Valley and other parts of the country. Although the Disc Golf venue (near the White Water Centre used in the 2012 Olympics) wasn’t too far from where I grew up, I hadn’t seen this part of the valley before. This isn’t so surprising when one considers that Lee Valley Regional Park is 10,000 acres in size, and 26 mile long!
Although the day was good fun, there was a serious message. There are over 100,000 protected areas across the globe, and many of the Rangers working to protect these areas risk their lives daily. It’s estimated that over 1,000 Rangers have been lost over the past decade (IRF). Prince William, HRH Duke of Cambridge, acknowledged the important work of Rangers in a youtube video message for World Ranger Day 2014. Dr Jane Goodall also created a World Ranger Day video message this year to show her respect for the world’s Rangers.
To learn more or find our how you can become involved and support park rangers on the front-line please visit: