The Young Rangers programme was started in 2004 with the objective of raising children’s awareness for the conservation of the Atlantic Forest in the upper Guapiaçú watershed. The programme was built on the success of the school visits providing the opportunity for local children to become more actively involved in REGUA as well as becoming more informed about environmental issues. The programme is based on classes taking place once a week at the Visitor Centre’s classroom. Primary and Secondary school children (9 to 16 year-olds) make the bulk of the programme. These youngsters must be regular school attendees, and ideally REGUA tries to attract local children from families with a history of hunting.
Special emphasis is given to understanding about biodiversity and its threats. REGUA’s avifauna reintroductions, the reforestation programme, and the restoration of the wetlands are used in the Young Ranger programme as best practice examples in the care of the environment. These classes combine performance and creative arts together with practical outdoor activities such as walks in the forest accompanied by REGUA’s rangers. They also assist with seed collecting, simple nursery tasks and with occasional tree planting.
Day excursions are organized to visit other protected areas such as The Rio de Janeiro Primate Centre, Rio de Janeiro`s Natural History Museum, Três Picos State Park and Serra dos Orgãos National Park.