After a six-week armed field ranger training course at the Southern African Wildlife College, 22 students have graduated with flying colors.
The Future Rangers Scholarship announcement
GCC unveiled its new Future Rangers Scholarship Fund this June, announcing the opportunity for a new cohort of students to join the Southern African Wildlife College’s field ranger training program. Over 600 individuals submitted their applications for the scholarship, from which 36 were selected to take part in a four-day physical and mental selection test. Fifteen of these young men and women went through to receive full scholarships to train to become wildlife guardians.
Turning dreams into reality
GCC’s Future Rangers Scholarship Fund provided the financial resources for the 15 students to attend the course, thanks to the generous support of GCC’s Board President, Josh Lumsden; the Southern African Wildlife College’s Our Horn is NOT Medicine; Wild Shots Outreach; and Frontier Collective.
Thanks to this intensive armed field ranger training course at the Southern African Wildlife College, these students now represent the next generation of wildlife guardians and are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and ability to protect some of Africa’s most endangered wildlife species.
The Future Rangers graduation ceremony
GCC’s Founder Matt Lindenberg joined the graduation ceremony to celebrate this important moment: “The graduation itself was a very moving process, with the graduating students marching, drilling and then finally receiving their awards. On commencement, they all threw their hats into the air, followed by 30 minutes of singing, dancing, and praising one another for making it through. The CEO of the Southern African Wildlife College, Theresa Sowry, gave a moving speech to the graduating students, even with a howling wind blowing everyone around.”
All 15 of the Future Rangers Scholars will now be placed between three partner reserves in the Greater Kruger National Park and will be able to put their new-found knowledge to work to protect South Africa’s wildlife.
GCC’s work continues
GCC will continue to work with lodges, industries, and associated stakeholders in the field to determine which jobs are in the highest demand and then find the best students to train them in these careers. Vocations such as local guides, entrepreneurs, artists, reserve managers, electricians, perma-culturalists, and builders are all currently in demand. GCC firmly believes that the rich pool of talent residing adjacent to protected areas needs to be completely integrated within the conservation sphere and it is dedicated to growing its resources, support, and donors to allow more and more talented youth to reach their full potential, all while benefiting both communities and wildlife.