Interview with Jan Brockmann: Rangers support LT&C-mission and SDGs

In October, Jan Brockmann joined our “global penguin network.” Brockmann is a German protected-area educator and guide (ranger), who also leads the Regio-Ranger®. He has also received the “Tourism of the Future” award for his project, handed over by Sustainable Tourism in Travel Destination Niedersachsen. Peter Prokosch, of LT&C, interviewed Brockmann, curious about his motivation to join LT&C and curious about his experience creating “rangers:”

Jan, you became a member of LT&C after you recently got the award of “Tourism with Future” of Sustainable Tourism in Travel Destination Niedersachsen for your project “Regio-Ranger®”. What is “Regio-Ranger®” and how does it relate to the mission of LT&C?

In most German states, like Lower Saxony, park rangers only serve in national parks or biosphere reserves. Regio-Ranger’s® goal is to establish the ranger-concept for lower-level protected areas, such as nature parks, where there is a stronger focus on tourism and sustainable land-management. Regio-Rangers® is working as a private company and offers services in the fields of sustainable tourism and nature conservation. Regio-Rangers® offers guided tours, horse riding, cycling, maintains hiking-trails,  monitors rare species, and develops projects to manage and protect habitats. Therefore, I believe, the activities of Regio-Rangers® fit perfectly with the mission of LT&C.

Can you describe an example where rangers, educated by your company, have contributed to the establishment or development of protected areas?

Regio-Ranger® is based on the “Heathland-Ranger-Project” www.heide-ranger.de. 12 years ago, after a long experience in ranger-services, I started to offer services for the nature park “Lüneburger Heide”. Working closely together with conservation authorities, NGOs, and regional tourism organizations, Heide-Ranger® is now a company with two employees and several freelancers. Every year we guide over 1,000 tourists and pupils through the park, maintain more than 1.000 km of trails, and are involved in several regional projects promoting sustainable tourism and nature protection.

Is this model, of your ranger company, also applicable outside Germany? Are you intending to become international?

Regio-Ranger® just started to spread. At the moment, we are focused in Germany, but, we offer our ranger trainings in other countries, like Tunisia.

How is your company supporting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ?

In my opinion, rangers key functions support many Sustainable Development Goals, ranging from environmental education to frontline conservation. Twenty years ago, with other rangers, I founded the German Rangers Association (www.bundesverband-naturwacht.de). Today, we are a part of the International Ranger Federation (IRF). Twenty years ago, we had almost no park rangers in Germany. Now, there are nearly 500. We’ve learned a lot from foreign rangers. Recently, we could give back, and help, many partner organizations in other countries to build up their structures. Rangers play a part in one large international family!