Lake District Rangers attend European Ranger Congress
Four of our Rangers from across the Lake District have just returned from the 4th European Ranger Congress in Litoměřice in the Czech Republic.
The National Trust delegates joined 125 Rangers from 26 other European countries and beyond, including Iceland, Israel, Russia, Germany, Finland, Hungary and Slovakia.
The rangers share many of the same challenges in their work, like climate change and habitat protection, dealing with plant diseases and invasive species, working with local communities, using the same tools and equipment…the rangers noted that flocks of birds even migrate between the respective countries.
This year saw the official establishment of the European Ranger Federation; a formal union of rangers from across the continent of Europe, which sits under the International Ranger Federation. With so much in common it’s natural that rangers want to work more closely together, sharing experience and ideas, and that’s one of the main purposes of the Ranger Congress and the European Ranger Federation.
From flooding to tree planting - familiar issues
The rangers learnt how the Lake District National Park and national Parks in Czech Republic face many of the same issues. On visits during the congress they looked at how the Czech rangers are dealing with severe flooding and associated landslips by managing grazing and extensive tree planting. In one area, Ceska Stredahori, they have employed a shepherd to manage the flock of sheep that undertake conservation grazing. The delegates also looked at ways of improving woodland management and tree safety work, issues that sound familiar to our teams looking after our land in the Lake District today.
" Like our counterparts on the continent we are also helping to protect habitats and endangered species here in the Lake District like the netted carpet moth and the fresh water pearl mussel, but thankfully not in quite as dangerous circumstances."
The international rangers at the congress all work tirelessly to protect threatened and endangered species, sometimes with few resources and at some personal risk. For example, Ranger Geir Jorgensen is working with a small team and a limited budget to protect the wolf packs in the forests of Sweden, threatened by illegal poaching.
The challenges that we face in the Lake District are not unique and it makes sense to share our knowledge and experience across the country but also across countries.