Categorized | Education, Environment, Featured, News

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park celebrates 10th year of the Youth Ranger Program


Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 2019 class of Youth Rangers. Photo courtesy NPS
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 2019 class of Youth Rangers. Photo courtesy NPS

Hawaii National Park, HI â€“ Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is pleased to celebrate the tenth year of the Youth Ranger Program. Over the last decade, 435 students from 10 island high schools in Puna, Ka’u, and West HawaiÊ»i have trained in conservation and environmental education disciplines. Many past participants are now enjoying careers with the National Park Service or in the field of conservation.

Structured as a unique work-learn-earn internship program, youth rangers are selected following training and development at the participating schools during the spring semester. In the summer, these students start entry-level jobs in the park, where they work and learn beside dedicated park professionals in a wide variety of career fields.

Youth rangers work to clear invasive species from thousands of acres within the park, serve tens of thousands of visitors in park visitor centers, repair popular trails, restore historic buildings, help with scientific studies, and assist with the curation of artifacts. “These youth create a bridge between the park, our local communities, and the next generation of park stewards,” stated HawaiÊ»i Volcanoes National Park Youth and Volunteer Program Coordinator KÅ«pono McDaniel. “The students learn valuable career skills and gain a better understanding and appreciation for national parks and their place in the surrounding community. The students learn that they can have a powerful influence on the future of our planet while creating positive outcomes in their own lives and careers.”

The capstone of the program each year is a year-end celebration of the youth participants and their mentors, where the students are acknowledged for all of the important work that has been accomplished over the summer season. Many participants in the Youth Ranger Program have transitioned into career positions at national parks throughout the United States or have become conservation leaders in their communities.

The Youth Ranger Program would not be possible without the generous support of our partners, especially Friends of HawaiÊ»i Volcanoes National Park, HawaiÊ»i Pacific Parks Association, the National Park Foundation, and the Hawaii Community Foundation.

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