Youth rangers are making a difference

By Amy Peach, Student

Amy Peach is 18 and has been a Youth Ranger at Queen Elizabeth Country Park in Hampshire, UK, for a number of years.

I was one of the first Youth Rangers at QECP. I liked the idea of being able to take an active and practical role within the Park. I have had an interest in the environment for as long as I can remember. Youth Rangers has given me the opportunity to develop that interest and gain experience in working in the field.

The Youth Ranger group allows young people to develop important life skills such as team work, communication and self-reliance. It can also be used as service for your Duke of Edinburgh award, it looks good on your CV and also on UCAS applications for science, geography, and environment-related degrees.

As a Youth Ranger you can get involved in many areas of the park, including helping out with children’s groups, monitoring wildlife and contributing to the day-to-day running of the Park. There is also an opportunity to get involved with the Queen Elizabeth Parks Twinning Project, which has twinned the Park with Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda.

My favourite activity is task days. These take place throughout the autumn/winter. They involve spending a day out in the forest or on the hill working on habitat management. We get to use all sorts of exciting tools and we have a fire on which we cook potatoes and sausages!

Youth Rangers is flexible and fits in around school and college. Some volunteer on a weekly basis, while others come up for the day every few months. When you want to come in you simply let the Park know you are coming, then turn up and get stuck in!

As a Youth Ranger I have become involved it the Queen Elizabeth Park Twinning Project. In 2013 I had the opportunity to visit Uganda. I worked with rangers and visited schools and communities. I have a passion for geology, and the experience in Uganda allowed me to write my extended project on geotourism in the Albertine Rift Valley, focusing on Uganda. It helped me to make important decisions about going to university.

Youth Rangers has given me the opportunity to spend time in the outdoors and meet new people. I enjoy learning about conservation on an international level. I think it is important to promote the importance of conservation and protecting the environment, particularly as we become more aware of the role we play in natural disasters and issues such as climate change.