Successful Second Ranger Training course in Ukraine

The second Ranger training course for Ukraine was conducted by the trainers from Ukraine, Austria, Slovakia and Lithuania in November, 2020. It is a continuation of training that European Wilderness Society conducted in May and June 2020. Around 150 people participated in the five training sessions!

This Ranger training was a result of strong cooperation between the European Wilderness Society, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine and Ukrainian State Environmental Academy of Postgraduate Education and Management. It was a great pleasure and a definite success to work with such strong partners!

Communication for rangers is crucial

Effective communication of protected areas’ staff with visitors is extremely important. Therefore, the training course included:

  • Ethic of human relationship with nature;
  • Methodology for creating individual ecological culture;
  • Communication of biodiversity value;
  • Communication of protected areas: foreign experience and what is already done in Ukraine;
  • Tour guiding using nature interpretation approaches;
  • Raising awareness of the conservation of rare animals;
  • Development and conducting of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) quest;
  • and many other.

In addition, the training course included practical exercises like interpretation of forest belts importance. During the whole course participants interacted with the trainers through chat, video and microphone. All of the presentations can be found on the Vlado Vancura Wilderness Academy website here.

European Wilderness Society’s session

European Wilderness Society provided general technical support during the whole training course. In addition, the team held presentations during one whole day of the course. The day included:

European Wilderness Society’s team also conducted several practical exercises with the training participants. One of them was an opportunity for participants to present themselves in the WISDOM format. After the training, majority of participants expressed interest to receive Respect Nature promotional and educational activities’ material.

WISDOM – communication technique

One of the important parts of the training was to train participants efficiently communicate with protected areas’ visors through WISDOM concept. The presentation material was kindly provided by the US Forest service Regional Wilderness and Rivers Program Manager Ralph Swain.

WISDOM is a great guideline how to communicate with the visitors, show authority in combination with education and advice.

Ralph Swain

Regional Wilderness and Rivers Program Manager, US Forest service

WISDOM is the 6 step communication guideline:

  • Where are you coming from?
  • Introduce yourself professionally
  • Size up the situation
  • Decide on a course of action
  • Outline/explain the violation
  • Make a positive impression.

Training participants noted, that it is most important to communicate to protected area visitors regarding waste, illegal campsites, rare species disturbance, fires, burning bio waste and payment for visiting park.

Example of Ranger approach to public

Here is a great example of ranger introduction using WISDOM principles from Chornobyl Radiation Reserve:

Hello! My name is Kateryna Pechenina. I am a representative of the information department of the Chornobyl Reserve. My job is to disseminate information about the state of nature and the activities of the Reserve.

Let me remind you that you are now in a radiation-contaminated area. By following simple rules, you will ensure a smooth return home. To avoid undressing on the dosimeter control point, it is enough to avoid sitting down and lying on the ground, beware of moss. Follow me step by step and your shoes will not be taken away as radiation-hazardous objects. All locations we plan to visit are open and checked by dosimeters. If you promise to be careful, we will visit a place that is always bypassed by traditional tourist routes. Do you agree to follow simple rules? If so – let’s get acquainted with nature, which has concurred radiation.

Kateryna Pechenina

Communicator of Chornobyl Radiation Reserve

Conclusions and next steps

The COVID-19 pandemic restricted on-site events, but it also provided an opportunity to connect a lot of people from many different places on one online platform. Because of that, around 150 participants from all over Ukraine as well as speakers and trainers from Ukraine, Austria, Slovakia and Lithuania took part in the Ranger communication training.

It is a great example of the  cooperation with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine and State Environmental Academy of Postgraduate Education and Management towards building capacities in the nature conservation sector. And it greatly supports preservation of the unique Ukrainian nature and especially its Wilderness.

In the coming months the European Wilderness Society will work hard to establish a full Ukrainian Ranger Training programme and launch it jointly with Ukrainian partners.

Max A.E.Rossberg

chairman of the European Wilderness Society

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