International Ranger Federation (IRF)
Background and History
The International Ranger Federation (IRF) was founded in 1992 when the Countryside Management Association (CMA, representing rangers in England and Wales), the Scottish Countryside Rangers Association (SCRA) and the U.S. Association of National Park Rangers (ANPR) signed a joint agreement to raise awareness of, and support, the critical work that rangers around the world do in conserving our natural and cultural heritage.
The IRF is a non-profit organization with a membership of 63 ranger associations, from 46 countries spread across six continents. The role of the IRF is to empower rangers by supporting them to develop, establish and maintain national or state-level ranger organizations; to provide a forum for information and learning on best practice; and to promote and enable technology transfer from countries in which protected area management enjoys broad public and state support, to countries in which protected area management is less well supported.
The IRF produces a Newsletter for its members and you can go to the news section of the IRF website to get a feel for some of things that ranger services are achieving, and the challenges that they face.
The IRF also promotes the annual World Ranger Day on 31st July each year. This day provides an opportunity to celebrate ranger achievements across the world, and also encourages us to remember Rangers who have lost their lives, or been injured, in the line of duty. It’s also an opportunity to raise some much needed funds, either for the IRF or the Thin Green Line Foundation (TGLF), a charitable organization that supports rangers and their families.
The TGLF have produced a Roll of Honour listing and commemorating all of the rangers who have died in service in the last year. A map has also been created showing the locations around the world where the 595 rangers that have died in service between 2009 and 2016 were working:
Sean Wilmore – founder of the Thin Green Line and President of the IRF, has recently written seeking support for the valuable work undertaken by The Green Line Foundation. Please take a moment to read his appeal….
World Ranger Congress
The IRF World Ranger Congress is a triennial event that brings together rangers from all over the world. It’s a chance to learn new skills, share knowledge, create new partnerships and refresh existing ones. The Congress is also an important forum for debate on issues that affect rangers at a global level. Many national ranger associations are represented at the event and important resolutions are drafted for later presentation at national-level conservation forums. The Congress is also an important opportunity for the host nation to raise the profile of its rangers and their work. The 8th World Ranger Congress was held in May 2016 in the Rocky Mountains National Park, Colorado, USA.
Slideshow of pictures from the IRC 2016
In one of the years when there is no World Ranger Congress, there is usually a European Ranger Congress instead, which helps to keep the close links between rangers within Europe. One of the European Ranger Associations coordinates the event. So far, Romania, Hungary and Croatia have all hosted these events. .
2017 European Ranger Congress
The 4th European Ranger Congress was held in May 2017 in the Czech Republic. One of the highlights of the Congress was the forming of a European Ranger Federation (ERF), primarily to give a common voice to European Rangers whilst still under the umbrella of the International Ranger Federation (IRF).
The CMA was well represented and our Vice President, Roger Cole, was elected to the role of Vice President of the new ERF. Click here to read some inspiring reports and articles written by those who were lucky enough to attend. This included the CMA East of England Regional Co-ordinator Tom Heenan, who gave an inspiring interview on the Park Leaders Podcast, focussing particularly on the recent European Ranger Congress.
So why not get involved and share what being a Ranger means to you? Upload your images and stories to the IRF Facebook page.
For more information on the work of the IRF, please contact Ian Brooker, CMA International Ranger Advisor at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Mobile 07720 509273