Junior Ranger courses of Estonian national parks
The objective of Junior Ranger courses is to increase the awareness of the environment and nature among youngsters and to create and develop the cooperation network around national parks.
The Federation of Nature and National Parks of Europe (EUROPARC Federation) initiated the Junior Ranger programme to find young active people who are interested in the nature and feel responsible for the conservation of European natural values and wish to have a say in European developments. As of 2002, the EUROPARC Federation organises Junior Ranger course across Europe. In Estonia, the courses have been organised since 2004.
The objective of the summer course and the continuing seminars of Junior Ranger is to increase the awareness of the environment and nature among youngsters. Junior Rangers are shown the practical work of nature conservation, they acquire knowledge of flora and fauna of the national park and discuss how to make the world a better place. The participants of the course have a hope of representing Estonia in an international camp next year which is organised in a different country each year. The young people meet new friends who have a similar outlook. Together they can discuss and develop ideas and thoughts which are useful to the local community and to the nature in general.
The ideas and thoughts of young people are also useful for organising the activities in protected areas better. In the camps, several necessary works are performed which can help endangered species and conserve cultural heritage. The employees of the protected areas understand that they have to share their experiences and knowledge with young people as well as with future organisers of nature conservation.
For additional information on the international programme, visit the homepage of the EUROPARC Federation.
Who and how many can participate and how to participate?
Young people from 6 to 12 grade who are interested in nature, who live in the territory of a national park or nearby, who have participated in natural science quizzes, subject Olympics and/or are truly interested in nature can participate in the summer courses.
Everyone who has previously taken part in the courses and/or continuing seminars can participate in the continuing seminars.
In the summer courses, up to 20 youngsters can participate in each national park; in the autumn and spring continuing seminars, up to 15 youngsters interested in nature can participate.
To apply for the course, one must submit a letter of motivation to the environmental education specialist of the respective region of the Environmental Board; the participants are chosen based on the letters.
What has been organised?
The first Junior Ranger course of Lahemaa National Park took place in 2004.
The first Junior Ranger course of Vilsandi National Park took place in 2012.
The first Junior Ranger course of Matsalu National Park took place in 2013.
The first Junior Ranger course of Karula National Park took place in 2014.
The first Junior Ranger course of Soomaa National Park took place in 2015.
As of the spring of 2014, continuing seminars are organised twice a year in addition to the summer courses.
The courses are organised by the Environmental Board and supported by the Environmental Investment Centre.
Contact persons of Junior Ranger courses of national parks:
Lahemaa National Park: Kerli Kõue, firstname.lastname@example.org
Vilsandi National Park: Mahe Metsalu, email@example.com
Matsalu National Park: Kalle Kõllamaa, firstname.lastname@example.org
Karula National Park: Helen Kivisild, email@example.com
Soomaa National Park: Krista Kingumets, firstname.lastname@example.org