The 5th European Ranger Congress in Tirana, Albania, ended yesterday after three days rich in expert presentations, fieldtrips, workshops, inspiring talks and countless new ideas on how Europe’s rangers can help conserve biodiversity.

About 100 rangers and conservation experts from 24 countries of all sides of Europe and even the world gathered at the congress hotel in Tirana to find the best answers for the future to the congress motto “Biodiversity on the Edge – Working Strategies for Rangers in a rapidly changing World”: From working with new monitoring methods, the use of drones for biodiversity conservation, networking ideas for Europe’s rangers, the involvement of junior rangers to issues of support for rangers as custodians of biodiversity, participants discussed a wide range of strategies in presentations, workshops and countless conversations.

Albanian rangers introduce colleagues from Europe and the world to their diverse habitats

Field trips to the Albanian national parks Shebenik and Divjake impressively demonstrated what needs to be preserved in Albania and how the local rangers are committed to doing so: Primeval beech forests and marshlands are just a few examples of the rich and unique habitat diversity in Albania. Urs Reif, president of the European Ranger Federation (ERF): “The ERF is so much in thanks for the rangers of Albania, the Albanian Ranger Association and of course especially Artenisa who organized it all. We hope we can come back here and enjoy the country but also directly to the rangers here in Albania with some useful support.”

Field trip to Shebenik national park in Albania

Participants from Europe and beyond raise support for rangers around the world

The European Ranger Congress has also attracted visitors from beyond Europe: for example, a delegation of rangers from El Salvador was a guest at the congress and enriched it with insights into the special tasks and challenges of their work in their home territory. Their visit was made possible by the close contact and tireless support of colleagues from the Bavarian Forest National Park, but also by the generous financial support of the Greenpeace Environmental Foundation, which made the congress possible in this form in the first place.

And the ranger community itself also put together a funding for rangers in need of support: For example, participants raised 750 euros through the traditional ranger raffle, which will be split between the Thin Green Line Foundation and the Frankfurt Zoological Society who are steering money towards rangers and protected area staff caught up in the Ukraine crisis.

A wide range of ideas now is waiting to be implemented in Europe’s protected areas

As dense as the congress days were in terms of experiences, discussions and work results – the ideas that are now waiting to be implemented in Europe’s protected areas are just as diverse. Stay tuned, see and read soon what they are and how the rangers of Europe are committed to their great goal: Finding strategies to save biodiversity in a rapidly changing world.

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