The National Wildlife Federation believes that when we share our love of wildlife with kids, we can spark a lifelong passion to learn about, explore, and protect our natural world. Ranger Rick, the National Wildlife Federation's friendly raccoon character, helps children of all ages discover and connect with nature so that they, too, become good stewards of the environment.
Ranger Rick first came to life in The Adventures of Rick Raccoon, a book published by the National Wildlife Federation in 1959. The idea came from National Wildlife Federation executive J.A. “Ash” Brownridge, who created the talkative raccoon as the book's writer under the pseudonym John A. Morris.
In doing so, he hoped to develop a future generation of conservationists who would understand the problems facing our environment and be willing to work toward the solution—a goal that continues to be central to the National Wildlife Federation's work.
The book took readers on the journey of Ranger Rick and his animal friends as they cleaned up their creek and pond. Another book followed, and in 1966 the National Wildlife Federation's board approved the creation of a monthly magazine for children with the wise and friendly raccoon at its core. With the founding mission to educate children and make them aware of their world, the first issue of Ranger Rick® magazine—then called Ranger Rick's Nature Magazine—was published in January 1967.
In 2017 Ranger Rick magazine celebrated 50 years of inspiring children and families to care about wildlife and the great outdoors. In honor of his 50th birthday, Ranger Rick and his animal buddies were given a fresh new look thanks to Emmy-nominated art director and illustrator Parker Jacobs.
Today Ranger Rick is at the heart of the National Wildlife Federation, serving as a beloved wildlife ambassador who creates fun, engaging ways for kids and families to connect with the great outdoors. What began with Brownridge's vision for a compelling book character has evolved into an approachable mentor for kids who's represented in nature-themed magazines, books, products, classroom curriculum, and activities available for every level of development (available in the “Shop” at RangerRick.org).
Building on the success of Ranger Rick magazine for ages 7 to 12 and Ranger Rick Jr.™ for ages 4 to 7, the National Wildlife Federation launched a new publication in 2016, Ranger Rick Cub™. Featuring a smaller size for the tiny hands of kids ages 0 to 4, Cub encourages “lap time” reading with parents, grandparents, or any trusted adult who wants to introduce wildlife and nature to the youngest members of the family. In 2017, the National Wildlife Federation also launched the Ranger Rick Book Club, mailing two fun-filled books to members every eight weeks.
From butterflies to blue whales, wildlife need our help now more than ever. Thanks to Ranger Rick, the National Wildlife Federation is inspiring future generations to care about and protect our wildlife and our world.
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More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.