31 July 2017
By Steve Tatlock, Park Management Team Leader at the Lake District National Park
To be a ranger is for many an ideal job or perhaps more accurately a way of life. For a few it is a reality. Of course the reality is often different to the perception and this is perhaps never more true than in the role of a ranger. The title is used throughout the world for those people who follow the vocation of protecting, conserving, enhancing and championing the natural world that all too often requires the intervention of humans to protect it from their fellows. In the UK rangers work across all habitats from the wild rugged uplands to the pockets of urban greenspace that are frequently in the shadow of their more glamorous relations, but they are often loved just as much as they represent green oasis in the heart of urban brutalism for both wildlife and people.
I am glad to say that for the most part in our green and pleasant land, rangers (and their colleagues who they work alongside but don’t bask in the glow of the title ‘ranger) and the work they do, is recognised and valued as part of a wider contribution to protect, enhance and understand our natural world. Sadly this is not true in other parts of the world where conservation is red in tooth and claw and where life, both human and animal, is held cheaply and frequently brought to a brutal end for commercial gain. So World Ranger Day is a bitter sweet moment when we pause to celebrate the work done by rangers to look after the one and only planet we have and share with a myriad of other lifeforms but who sometimes pay the ultimate price in protecting it. We will take a moment to remember and respect these fallen colleagues, their families and friends.
Happily here in the Lake District on World Ranger Day different types of ranger from various organisations will come together to work alongside each other on a shared conservation task. It will be a time to share, commiserate, learn and celebrate and to reaffirm a common commitment to ourselves, each other and the environment we work for. One of the founding fathers of the conservation movement, John Muir, put it succinctly and eloquently when he wrote; “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” Whatever part of the world we live in we are connected by nature and hopefully a love and respect for it. World Ranger Day is as much a celebration of the world and its natural wonders as for a small and dedicated group of men and women who play their part in caring for it.
Happy World Ranger Day 2017!