The 18th Annual Meeting of the Ranger Service of the Republic of Croatia took place in Paklenica NP from 19th to 20th April 2018.
The meeting was well attended by approx.. 100 participants from all over Croatia. Alberto Dominici from Italy was invited but he wasn´t able to join the meeting due to an important court testimony.
As representative of the twinning partner Portugal Joao Correia from APGVN attended the meeting. But also Mario Schmid and Thomas Drexler from Bavarian Forest NP in Germany joined in the meeting next to me.

The meeting was organized by Mrs. Katica Bezuh, Senior Inspector for Nature Protection of the Ministry of Environment and Energy of the Republic of Croatia in cooperation with the Croatian Ranger Association.
During the Opening of the Meeting on 19th April several welcome speeches were held by

  • Assistant of the Minister of Environment and Energy,
  • Mrs. Katica Bezuh, Senior Inspector for Nature Protection,
  • Frank Gruetz, European Representative of the IRF and President of the ERF
  • Director of Paklenica NP

In my welcome speech I talked about the important role of Rangers in nature conservation and also in their protected areas. I also told the audience about the sometimes dangerous job of a Ranger and asked the audience to hold a minute of silence for the remembrance of Rangers killed in the line of duty.

During the first day of the seminar presentations were held about

  • new laws and bylaws in Nature Protection,
  • activities and achievements in various protected areas
  • monitoring reports of endangered species
  • IRF and ERF – history, aims, achievements and goals
  • organization of nature protection and management of protected areas in Portugal/ duties and problems of the Portuguese Rangers
  • organization of nature protection and management of protected areas in Germany/ duties and problems of the German Rangers
  • Junior Ranger Program in Bavarian Forest NP
  • The German Ranger Association

In the morning of the second day of the seminar the Croatian Rangers had to write a 2-hours- exam about the lectures of the first day.
After the exam all participants went for a guided 3-4 hour field-trip in Paklenica NP. The closing of the seminar was celebrated with an organized lunch for all participants at a mountain hut in the Paklenica NP.

Next to talking to Mrs. Katica Bezuh during the seminar I took advantage to talk to and discuss with lots of Croatian Rangers esp. Branko Stivic, Mario Schmid from Germany and Joao Correia from Portugal about nature conservation, the situation of Rangers and how IRF resp. ERF could offer support.