This is an archived press release
Thursday 17 September 2009
17 September 2009
Peak District ranger receives highest European accolade
Gordon was awarded the Alfred Toepfer Medal, named after the federation’s founder, at the Europarc conference in Sweden as it celebrated the 100th anniversary of Europe’s national parks.
Gordon, founder-chairman of the International Ranger Federation in 1992, has devoted his working life to developing the ranger service here and abroad. His work in supporting rangers worldwide has taken him to trouble-spots including war-torn Congo, and in November he will attend the sixth World Ranger Congress in Bolivia.
He pioneered many ranger training courses, working with experts at Losehill Hall, the Peak District National Park’s learning and conference centre, to develop professionalism in nature protection. He is a former chairman of the Association of Countryside Rangers and instigated exchange visits and seminars to help rangers in Europe to learn from each other.
Presenting him with the award, Thomas Hansson, president of the Europarc Nordic-Baltic section, said: “We are very satisfied that the Alfred Toepfer Medal 2009 should be awarded to Gordon Miller for his significant contribution to nature protection in Europe by inspiring, encouraging and co-ordinating ranger services.”
Gordon said: “The award came as a complete surprise, but it was a great honour to receive it, especially in the 100th anniversary year of European national parks. It has been a privilege to be able to work in the environment that I love, and to bring together rangers to support each other in national parks across the world.”
Brought up in urban Stockport, Gordon decided in 1953 on a camping trip at the age of 12 that he wanted to work in the newly-formed Peak District National Park, and tagged along with wardens (as they were then called) until he could officially become a volunteer at 18. He became a full-time warden in 1969, and when the job-title changed to ranger in the 1970s he began to develop their professionalism and begin international co-operation.
Gordon retired as a full-time Peak District ranger in 2002, after 33 years mostly responsible for the Kinder area around Edale in the heart of the national park, where he made his home in the 1960s.
He is still active in the International Ranger Federation, which now represents rangers in 50 countries. And he still lives in Edale, which remains his favourite place in the world, helping many village activities including Sustainable Edale.
The 2009 Europarc conference, attended by 27 European environment ministers and 200 delegates, included the inauguration by the King of Sweden of the country’s first marine national park. Sweden opened Europe’s first national park in 1909.