Each spent between four and 20 days in wild places in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, often carrying out practical conservation tasks such as wildlife surveys or collecting used plastic tree guards.
The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority began running a Young Rangers programme in the Craven part of the National Park in 2013. In 2016 the scheme received external funding to expand to cover the other districts of the National Park. Two groups – South and North – currently meet monthly.
Young Rangers is one of two youth volunteer programmes run by the Authority, with the other – Generation Green – currently looking to support young people find a route to employment in the ‘green economy’.
To achieve a John Muir Award, each participant must meet the ‘Four Challenges’ to discover, explore, conserve and share wild places. Of the 37 Young Rangers to have received their John Muir Award certificates, 11 of them achieved the top level ‘Conserver’ award in acknowledgment of their long term commitment to volunteering in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
One of those to receive a Conserver award, Benji Grundy, who has recently become a countryside worker apprentice, said: “Receiving the John Muir Award through Young Rangers means a lot to me. Being able to discover, explore, conserve and share these natural landscapes in the Yorkshire Dales is something that I have loved. To achieve the award I took part in many Young Ranger days that covered the first three challenges and wrote a couple of blog posts on my days for the share challenge.”
John Muir Award Cumbria Manager Graham Watson said: “It’s only by getting out and being active in connecting with our local wild places that we come to value and care for them. These Young Rangers have put that into action with great commitment; John Muir would be proud of them and I congratulate them on achieving their John Muir Awards”.
Member Champion for Recreation Management at the National Park Authority, Nick Cotton, said: “It’s wonderful to see how much the Young Rangers have gained from their activities in the Dales. Their passion for improving the environment shines through. I liked it when they put together choice quotes from the writings of John Muir, reflecting the strength, joy and knowledge that can be gained from spending time outdoors in beautiful places.”
The Young Rangers who received a John Muir Award were…
Toby Aston Robinson