LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On Friday, Dec. 2, a group of young conservationists graduated from a program equipping them to protect New York’s state parks and the environment from harm. The DEC held its graduation ceremony at the 23rd Basic School for New York State Forest Rangers, celebrating the induction of 38 new rangers into the state’s environmental forces.

The recruits who graduated on Friday will join 121 active rangers, creating the largest Forest Ranger force in the history of the Department of Environmental Conservation. The new recruits have spent the last six months undergoing intensive training at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry Campus in Wanakena, as well as the Huntington Wildlife Forest in Newcomb.

“From rescuing lost or injured hikers to fighting wildfires here in New York and across the nation, our dedicated Forest Rangers regularly put themselves in harm’s way to protect our communities,” said Governor Kathy Hochul in an announcement. “I applaud this new class of rangers for their hard work in completing an extremely difficult training regimen as they now join the ranks of hundreds of other officers who continue to protect New Yorkers and our treasured natural resources every day.”

While there, some recruits were honored with awards to see them off into their future service. Ranger Corey earned awards in physical fitness and academic excellence. Ranger Greagan was awarded in physical fitness. Ranger Snye earned awards in stewardship and marksmanship.

The graduation was coupled with the 2022 Forest Ranger Awards for active rangers. Awardees include:

  • Ranger Snyder
    • Meritorious Service Award for work with SharePoint and field mapping
  • Joan Ducharme and Don Mellor
    • Colonel William F. Fox Citizen’s Award
  • Ranger Candee (retired) and Captain Rogers
    • Director’s Commendation
  • Ranger Lieutenant Hoag and rangers Booth, Donegan, Franke, Perryman and Quinn
    • Raymond Murray Award