On Wednesday, June 5th, in an event commemorating World Environment Day, the Ministry of Education awarded the diploma of Auxiliary Technician in 'Conservation of Natural Resources' to 197 park rangers from the 22 national protected areas in Bolivia. Since 2017, the Ministry of Education and the National Service of Protected Areas (SERNAP), with the support of WCS and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AIS), has been developing a training plan for park rangers, aiming to support the integral management of protected areas and contributing to the objectives of biodiversity conservation.
To date, two levels of training have been carried out, the level of basic technician 'Protected Area Park ranger', and that of auxiliary technician in 'Conservation of Natural Resources'. In the coming months, the third level, corresponding to the mid-level technician in 'Environmental Management, Conservation and Management of Natural Resources' is planned. Each of the levels broadens and deepens the topics of study on the legal and institutional framework, protection and surveillance, planning and integrated monitoring, natural resource management, climate change, socio-environmental management and risk and disaster management. On the other hand, hands-on practice is carried out in the field under the supervision of specialized instructors.
This training process is allowing park rangers to put into practice the techniques, tools and knowledge acquired during the training courses, in the different areas of protected area management. In this second level of auxiliary technician, emphasis was placed in working with local populations involved in the management of the protected areas, and included topics on culture, natural resource and tourism management plans, social participation, management of conflicts and environmental education. An important aspect is that the training program of the second and third level technicians, in addition to responding to the work requirements of park rangers, increases their possibilities of working in other positions.