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Sat, Feb. 22

Documentary celebrates park rangers worldwide

Yesterday, in conjunction with the inaugural World Ranger Day, the Park Service premiered the new international documentary "The Thin Green Line" at the Shrine of the Ages auditorium.

"By hosting the simultaneous world premiere of this important documentary film, Grand Canyon National Park is joining with hundreds of sites from various countries around the world to honor the work that park rangers do to protect our heritage," Grand Canyon National Park's Chief of Interpretation Judy Hellmich-Bryan said.

World Ranger Day, an event developed by the International Ranger Federation (IRF), is a tribute to the work that rangers perform to protect the Earth's last remaining significant natural and cultural sites and a day to remember the rangers who have been injured or killed in the line of duty. In line with this objective, this year's inaugural celebration will center on the release of the documentary, which was put together by Sean Willmore, a park ranger at Warringine Park in Victoria, Australia.

Willmore wanted the world community to see the real picture behind the postcards of international parks and reserves - to see the threats to protected areas through the eyes and daily lives of rangers. Willmore spent most of 2004 filming the lives and stories of rangers on six continents and in 19 countries. His trip included such experiences as mountain gorilla protection in Uganda, helicopter rescues in the Rockies, and anti-poaching patrols and chases in South Africa, Galapagos, Uganda and India. Willmore sold his car and remortgaged his house three times to make the film.

The International Ranger Federation, a group of ranger associations from various countries, was founded in 1992 to support the work of rangers as the key protectors of parks and conservation areas around the world. The member associations from the United States are the California State Park Rangers Association and the Association of National Park Rangers. At the 2006 IRF World Ranger Congress in Scotland, delegates decided that July 31st of each year, beginning in 2007, would be a day dedicated to rangers all around the globe.

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