We do not inherit the
earth from our ancestors,
we borrow it from
our children.
- Native American Wisdom

Nurturing the Next Generation of NPS Rangers

In its 2011 "Call to Action" the National Park Service proposed to "create deep connections between a younger generation and parks through a series of diverse park experiences"...."create a new generation of citizen scientists and future stewards of our parks"...."help students develop a deep understanding of park resources"...."sponsor excellence in science and scholarship, gain knowledge about park resources, and create the next generation of conservation scientists".... and "recruit candidates [for the NPS] to provide a source of diverse, motivated, and well-trained employees that reflect local communities...."

With these objectives in mind, Friends of Saguaro and the park joined together in early 2015 to establish a Next Generation Ranger Corps program -- designed to enable young people interested in a career with the NPS to discover the agency, and its different operational divisions, by providing college students an experiential, engaging, and supportive learning and working opportunity at Saguaro National Park.

Since 2015, the NextGen Ranger program, has employed a diverse group of over 80 interns -- each working for a specific department at the Park, developing valuable skills, and gaining unique work experiences.  Recognizing that the current NPS workforce is 83% white, 63% male, and almost 50% over the age of 46, we worked hard to achieve diversity among our NextGen intern participants.  Among all of FOSNP's youth intern contractors, 74% were women and 59% were from underserved communities. 72% of the NextGen interns worked at least 640 hours at the Park -- qualifying them for "Public Land Corps" hiring authority with the National Park Service and other federal land management agencies. 95% of program graduates work in the environmental field. 28 work for federal land management agencies and 14 graduates work at Saguaro National Park.

Broadly defined, the FOSNP Next Generation Ranger Corps internship program seeks to expand Saguaro National Park's urban outreach; strengthen the Park's connection to local schools; provide targeted training, mentoring, and work experiences for qualified participants; achieve greater levels of engagement with underserved communities; provide competitive hourly wages to participants; achieve Park resource protection objectives; and create an ethic of conservation and resource stewardship among participants.  And equally important, the program will provide the Park Service with opportunities to develop a more diverse workforce, reflecting the local community.

Just click here to view a brief video summary of this terrific program -- supported by your generous donations to Friends of Saguaro National Park!