The STINAPA Bonaire Junior Ranger Program

This document contains a detailed program overview

The Junior Ranger Program is an out-of-school nature education program run by STINAPA to help teenagers develop knowledge and understanding of nature and to create teenage role models who develop leadership skills, critical thinking and problem solving. They are educated about nature and the environmental problems on the island of Bonaire. The Junior Ranger Program is a complete package of nature education activities where teenagers come in contact with nature and learn by doing through activities that take place within nature conservation programs on Bonaire.

Any of Bonaire’s youth between the ages of 13 and 21 can join the Junior Ranger Program. The Junior Rangers are involved for years and they move up in rank every year. The motivator to join the program is that they have the opportunity to become PADI certified scuba divers. In addition, there is a yearly graduation ceremony where new Junior Rangers are brought into the program and everyone else moves up in rank. All are recognized for their achievements over the past year, for the classes they have attended and the certifications they have earned.

 The program consists of the following levels:

1. Aspirant

2. Cadet

3. Trooper

4. Deputy

5. Captain

6. Commander

When beginning the program, Junior Rangers learn the basics about Bonaire’s nature and the environment. During this first year, they have to show their commitment to the program. After successful completion, they move into the next level and can start their open water dive course as Cadets. They then move through the five levels becoming more advanced in their diving, environmental, and leadership skills. They are becoming role models for the group.

The Junior Ranger Program runs throughout the school year. The Junior Rangers meet after school one day a week for educational activities and on Saturday mornings for environmentally focused recreational activities. During educational activities the group is divided. Since the Aspirants need to gain their general knowledge about the different topics in their first year, they meet at a separate time. Cadets through Commanders are educated together and topics are presented in a circular way throughout the years and levels. This group can join classes and programs given by local and international research and education organisations, such as Teens4Oceans and CIEE. They participate in dive classes and specialty courses as well as classes focusing on skills training.

During Saturday’s outdoor activity, the group is mixed and interaction between Junior Rangers of all different levels and ages takes place. The whole group of Junior Rangers is divided into subgroups that work on different topics and activities both in the water and on land. Examples of Junior Ranger activities include beach cleanups, lora counting, coral restoration, practice dives, reforestation, painting rocks as warning signs, fish surveys, and so on. The scheduled activities are in line with the needs of the community and the island.

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