Normally seen out and about on reserves, often in government utes, repairing fences, protecting wildlife and undertaking important work, rangers are the people who hold the power when it comes to keeping our national parks and reserves safe and accessible to all.
Held annually on the last day of July, World Ranger Day is both a commemoration of rangers killed or injured in the line of duty, and a celebration of the work they do to protect natural treasures and cultural heritage globally.
ACT Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman said ACT rangers have worked especially hard during the past year to give Canberrans more opportunities to enjoy our parks and reserves.
“During COVID-19 restrictions, the ACT’s parks and reserves have been more valuable than ever to Canberrans,” he said.
“Our rangers have worked tirelessly to maintain and improve them, including carrying out substantial repairs from bushfire damage. These efforts meant Namadgi National Park was able to reopen to visitors earlier than expected.”
World Ranger Day provides an opportunity to acknowledge rangers who face life threatening situations in their work.
According to Mr Gentleman, Canberra rangers face dangers including venomous snakes, rescuing lost hikers and battling bushfires.
He thanked all of the team at ACT Parks and Conservation Service for their important work.
Mr Gentleman also encouraged Canberrans to celebrate World Ranger Day by visiting a Canberra nature park such as Namadgi or Tidbinbilla, and thanked ACT Parks and Conservation Service staff, such as ranger Bec Ryan.
Becoming a ranger was always a childhood dream for Ms Ryan, who grew up in a cul-de-sac that backed onto Red Hill Reserve. As a kid, she’d spend her days playing and dreaming about one day working in the bush.
She’s worked for ACT Parks and Conservation Service for seven years, having initially come onboard as a field officer working on the ground doing a lot of physical labour such as fixing fences. She’s now worked her way up the ladder to be a ranger in charge of different patches, and generally looks after the Belconnen reserves.
That’s not to say Ms Ryan is always a ‘lone ranger’ as she will often head out to other areas to lend a hand to her colleagues.
“[In Canberra] we are really lucky to have a unique connection to the bush because we are smack-bang in the middle of it,” she said
As a ranger, Ms Ryan sees how Ngunnawal country is used firsthand – for bushwalking, birdwatching, frog-spotting and bike riding.
“We encourage people to come out and enjoy the reserves because they are just so fantastic,” she said.
“Bring your camera, bring some friends, go bushwalking and really use the spaces we have. Just enjoy it.”
World Ranger Day is an initiative of The Thin Green Line Foundation, an organisation that works with rangers and their associations as well as conservation partners around the world.
Learn more about World Ranger Day and the work The Thin Green Line Foundation does to protect the people who protect nature. Also, visit here to find parks and reserves near you, as well as important safety information.