The WRWC River Rangers are now a seasonal 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 hand pick youth and adults from our area neighborhoods. We hire and train them on what it takes to steward our 7 miles and 5 parks along the Woony 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!
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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!
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 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!
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:
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!