Conservation organization puts the power of change into kids’ handsOccasionally, parents find teaching moments for their children. Sometimes, it’s the other way around.
Earth Rangers is a kids’ conservation organization dedicated to educating children about the importance of protecting the environment, including animals and the wild spaces they need in order to survive.
Founded in 2004 by Robert Schad, this Canadian non-profit educates children and their families about biodiversity, inspires them to adopt sustainable behaviours, and empowers them to become directly involved in protecting animals and their habitats. In 2011, the Ontario-based organization expanded across Canada, and since then has grown into a national organization with more than 40 staff and hundreds of volunteers.
“We feel it is imperative that we engage kids on issues related to the environment, and get them practicing conservation behaviours at a young age,” says Tovah Barocas, the newly installed president of Earth Rangers, who adds she has some “lofty aspirations” for the organization.
Earth Rangers hopes that kids, through their involvement and enthusiasm, can inspire parents (their own and others) to make changes with positive impact, giving children a sense of control and power over their future.
Susan and Claude Morris, of the Westboro area, have three tween-aged children. “We are proud of how committed the children have been to Earth Rangers,” says Susan, mother of Gavin, age 10, plus 11-year-old twins Luke and Lila. “It has helped remind us of all (about) the changes we can make. The kids have really pushed us to cut down on single-use plastic. We are no longer using disposable coffee cups. We can no longer (raise) the thermostat. We think the Earth Rangers program is brilliant for helping children learn about the world around them.”
Missions are fun, tangible activities Earth Rangers provides to members throughout the year that are designed to demonstrate the collective impact of working together to protect the environment. They address a wide range of issues and provide kids with ways to take action.
In early 2020, the Earth Rangers unveiled their new app, which is designed to empower children to take environmental action by participating in missions. It’s free to join, and families will have access to real-world missions like building backyard habitats, making forest-friendly crafts and protecting marine animals from pollution. It’s a safe place for families to learn about nature.
The app is especially helpful for kids who experience “eco-anxiety” due to climate change by allowing them to take part in conservation efforts and be part of small but mighty solutions to help save animals.
Super Ranger Abigail Hynes became an Earth Ranger in 2016. The nine-year-old Carleton Place-area resident loves all animals, and she is especially proud of her Bring Back the Wild missions. This year, Abigail has already given presentations on the snowshoe hare to her Grade 4 class and to her entire school. In late February, she again took part in a competition at the Royal Canadian Legion.
“Earth Rangers means a lot to me because I love animals,” says Abigail. “I feel sad whenever I (learn) that an animal is endangered. Being an Earth Ranger makes me feel better because I know that I can help.”
The new app, says Abigail’s mom Lori-Lynn Hynes, is “interactive and engaging. Abigail has (already) mastered it,”, she adds. “Her Earth Rangers experience has increased her confidence, and (taught her) that hard work pays off. She has applied these (skills) in other areas of her life, as well.”
The Earth Rangers Centre in Woodbridge, Ont. houses over 40 animals that act as Animal Ambassadors for the organization, including ring-tailed lemurs, red foxes, bald eagles, African serials and American kestrels.
It is home to Earth Rangers’ staff and Animal Ambassadors, and showcases leading edge sustainable building technology including energy metering, smart automation and controls, innovative water and wastewater management, solar generation, green roof, geothermal heating and cooling.
Earth Rangers currently has more than 140,000 members across Canada, and visit 800 elementary schools every year with an educational live animal show.
Free to download, the Earth Rangers app gives children access to programs and features such as:
- Over 20 fun missions that make a real and positive impact on the environment like planting trees, battery recycling drives, conserving energy and creating butterfly gardens
- Animal Adoptions that allow you to support real, on the ground conservation projects across Canada
- Virtual badges, leader-boards, and rewards for almost everything you do in the app
- Endless entertainment and inspiration through hours of educational videos and thousands of fascinating articles about animals and the environment
- Easy access to the award-winning Earth Rangers podcast
- Points-based levelling system that allows you to journey through different habitats, unlocking cool animal facts along the way
- Customizable avatars that allow you to create your own virtual identity
- Free membership card and welcome package sent by mail when you complete your membership sign-up
Insert code OPT2020 into the app to receive bonus points.
Source: Earth Rangers
Teaching sustainable behaviours and conservation to our kids.
- Day-to-day actions, such as going meatless for a meal, recycling batteries, practicing water conservation or even exploring a local park, are just a sampling of the types of activity we should encourage.
- Small, actionable steps have proven to alter your child/children’s outlook and show them how they can have a positive impact on their environment.
- On a fundamental level, we know people report a greater sense of well-being when outdoors. According to a 2018 Ipsos poll by Nature Conservancy of Canada, nine in 10 Canadians agree that they are happier when they spend time in nature.
- Taking environmental action—even in small ways—engenders hope and empowerment.
Source: Earth Rangers