I've been a ranger at the Ruhr Regional Association (RVR) for 22 years and work mainly in the Hohe Mark, on the northern edge of the Ruhr area. My responsibilities include conservation work such as building nesting sites. Rangers are also mediators between humans and nature. We explain to forest visitors how to behave in a way that protects the animals and plants.
Our torchlight hikes are also intended to bring people closer to nature. We offer them from November to February, then the risk of forest fires is not so high. 25 people can take part in each torchlight hike. One of us rangers leads them, the other runs behind the group.
Even if we only go on wide paths through the forest for safety reasons, it is exciting for the participants, especially the children, simply because of the darkness. It's especially beautiful when we have a clear sky and can see the stars in clearings or at the edge of the forest. I have an app with bird calls on my smartphone. I then play the call of the tawny owl over a loudspeaker, usually one comes flying and circles above us. That's always fascinating. A highlight is climbing the fire watch tower. It is 39 meters high, and when the weather is clear you have a good view of the Ruhr area and the Münsterland from the top.