Heartbeat of the Greenway


The WRWC River Rangers are a year-round team of professionals with a summer youth team. They are the dedicated heartbeat of the Woony River Greenway, constantly working on projects that sustain, improve and expand the Greenway and its parks. Each year, we hire youth and adults from our area neighborhoods. We hire and train them to steward our 7 miles and 5 parks along the Woonasquatucket River Greenway and work hand in hand with our Clean Days volunteers. Each Ranger joins the team for a different reason. They all gain professional, technical, and personal skills. It is our hope that they also leave with a deepened sense of stewardship for the environment. Support WRWC so we can continue to employ this amazing team of stewards!

Check here to see what River Ranger positions are open!

For more information:
Lisa Aurecchia, Director of Projects

River Rangers

River Rangers are Stewards of the Woonasquatucket River Greenway and watershed, helping to maintain urban gardens and wild flora along the river. Rangers teach the community how to protect and care for the river and parks. They work with the community through cleanup efforts, plantings, and recreational programs. Local artists also work frequently with our Rangers on the Greenway to add color and life for the community to enjoy. Rangers have the opportunity to learn canoe and kayak skills while working on the river, helping to protect the watershed from below the banks.  Rangers work with certified contractors to build infrastructure along the greenway, both in green infrastructure, and public shade structures.  The vast flora and fauna along the Woonasquatucket River allows rangers the opportunity to learn about the local ecosystems, to educate and inform their values, and to help them become stronger environmental advocates for future policy and pro environmental projects. 

River Rangers’ work along the Greenway corridor includes, but is not limited to, invasive plant management, installing and caring for plantings, mowing and weed whacking, maintaining stormwater systems like bioswales and tree wells, removing trash, coordinating public clean-ups and community events, and working on art installations and civic space improvement projects. The River Ranger team collaborates with Police Departments, Parks Departments, Departments of Public Works, Housing Authorities, and local organizations, businesses, churches, recreation centers, and community members in their efforts to maintain the parks and bike path. They do all this to educate and empower the watershed community.

The WRWC River Rangers are our pro team, working spring through early winter. River Rangers remain fundamental in keeping the parks and bike path along the Woonasquatucket River safe and well-kept for the community’s enjoyment, and the Rangers’ work is palpable throughout the watershed communities. They also set the example, mentoring and training our Junior Ranger team. River Rangers have the experience to pass down to the next season of Rangers. They work hard and have fun teaching, learning and growing together.

In addition to physical stewardship of the Greenway, Rangers help keep the Greenway healthy, beautiful, and safe by encouraging responsible use of the outdoor space. Rangers also develop and lead volunteer projects, and they educate neighborhood youth using the Greenway. River Rangers are our best advocates for the Woony River Greenway!


Junior Rangers

Junior River Rangers

The WRWC hires a team of exceptional youth each summer to serve as Junior River Rangers. The Junior Rangers receive technical training in landscaping, maintenance, green infrastructure, and environmental stewardship as well as basic job skills training in the importance of punctuality, appropriate work place attire, and more. Junior Rangers also learn life-long interpersonal and communication skills, project and volunteer management, project assessment and evaluation, and public speaking through community development and outreach. Junior Rangers typically work for 6-8 weeks during the summer, but some stick around and join the seasonal team!

A Brief History

In 1999, the Woonasquatucket River Greenway Project (now WRWC) hired the first Woonasquatucket River Rangers, giving teenagers from surrounding neighborhoods summer jobs and hands on experience as river and park stewards, even before some of the parks were transformed! The River Rangers began with three objectives:

  1. Give urban youth living in the river corridor an opportunity to proactively change their neighborhoods and the environment they live in;
  2. Increase and strengthen outreach efforts to give community residents the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to become active stewards of their environment; and
  3. Institute on site improvements to the riverbanks, green spaces, and parks along the river corridor.

Over the years, aspects of these goals have been met, and River Ranger objectives have expanded along with the Greenway. In 2014, the WRWC partnered with the RI DOT, which began to provide funding towards maintenance of the bike path. This unique arrangement, the only one of its kind in Rhode Island, allowed the WRWC to hire professional River Rangers to take on the additional role of maintaining the on site improvements made over previous decades. This funding isn’t permanent, so support from donors and sponsors is key! Support WRWC so we can continue to employ this amazing team of stewards!