Ranger Rick

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Ranger Rick
January 1967 Front Cover
Editorial DirectorMary Dalheim
Frequency10 per year
First issueJanuary 1967 (1967-01)
CompanyNational Wildlife Federation
CountryUnited States
Based inReston, Virginia

Ranger Rick, originally Ranger Rick's Nature Magazine,[1] is a children's nature magazine that is published by the United States National Wildlife Federation.[2] The magazine offers feature articles and activities for children, ages 7 and up, in order to spark their interest in the outdoors and become more actively involved in the environment.[2] The magazine's primary intention is to instill a passion for nature and promote activity outdoors.[3] NWF also publishes two companion magazines, Ranger Rick Jr., which is aimed at ages 4–7, and Ranger Rick Cub, which is aimed at kids 0–4 years old.[4]


Ranger Rick is the oldest and biggest children's nature magazine.[2][clarification needed] The National Wildlife Federation first published the magazine as Ranger Rick's Nature Magazine, in January 1967[5][6] and readers have since passed on their interest to their own children.[2]

Publication information[edit]

Ranger Rick has a circulation of 525,000, and an estimated 200,000 more children are exposed to the magazine by viewing pre-used copies.[2] The magazine is published ten times a year by the National Wildlife Federation.[6][7] The headquarters is in Reston, Virginia.[8]

Printing information[edit]

The magazine uses an environmentally friendly processed paper, which is composed of consumer waste (about 30%) and is absent of chlorine.[9] Vegetable oils largely make up the magazine's actual ink.[9] By using these environmentally friendly resources the following is saved on a monthly basis:[9]

  • Trees: 1,179
  • Total Energy: 3,300 million BTUs
  • Greenhouse Gases: 617,398 lbs. carbon
  • Waste Water: 1,517,064 gallons
  • Solid Waste: 216,093 lbs.


Each issue includes nonfiction articles about various environmental and animal topics, fictional story-like articles, and color photography throughout.[7] Also included in the magazine are activities such as nature-themed games, activities that get children to actively learn more about their environments, riddles, and jokes.[7] Most of the pages of the magazine feature multi-page photo stories of animals in their natural habitats. There are also illustrated stories, games, riddles, nature news, poetry, contests, and other features and columns. Ranger Rick is also the raccoon park ranger protagonist in the longstanding magazine feature Ranger Rick's Adventures (originally Ranger Rick and his Friends): an illustrated short story depicting Ranger Rick and his compatriots from Deep Green Wood exploring the world, often encountering threats to wildlife and environmental problems. Rick or any one of his friends, including Boomer Badger and Scarlett Fox, always finds a solution to whatever problem they encounter, thus encouraging children to do their part to protect the natural environment.

December/January 2017 50th anniversary front cover

Previous Ranger Rick magazines have featured these and other adventure stories:

  • recycling Christmas trees as a means of helping to provide proper habitat for fish (December 2009-January 2010);
  • Rick and Scarlett pulling an April Fool trick on Boomer Badger to get him away from his TV and computer and to get out into nature and fresh air (April 2009);
  • realizing the hazards of long fishing lines at sea (June and July 2008); illustrated by Rob Gilbert/Robby Gilbert.
  • struggling with alien species in the Florida Everglades (February 2007).[5] illustrated by Rob Gilbert/Robby Gilbert.


Ranger Rick has received the "Golden Lamp Award for excellence in educational journalism".[10] Here are other awards the magazine has attained over the years:[11]

Association of American Publishers Distinguished Achievement Awards


  • Best Overall Publication (Grades PreK–6)
  • Best Article Design ("Glass Frogs")
  • Best Illustration, Graphics, and Photography ("The Greatest Show on Earth")
  • Best Single Issue Design (August 2015)
  • Best Single Issue Editorial (October 2015)


  • Best Overall Editorial (Grades PreK–6)
  • Best Single Issue Editorial (March 2014)
  • Best Article Design ("Stranger Than Fiction")
  • Best Photography ("It's Raining!")


  • Periodical of the Year" (Grades 3–6)
  • Best Illustration, Graphics, & Photography ("Fox for All Seasons")

Association of Educational Publishers Distinguished Achievement Awards


  • Best Visual Story ("What's for Dinner?")
  • Best Mobile/Wireless Learning Tool (Ranger Rick's Tree House)
  • Gold Innovation Award Winner for Best Educational Innovation of the Year (Ranger Rick's Tree House)


  • Best Visual Story ("Wasps")
  • Best Feature Article ("Not-So-Freaky Frogs")


  • Periodical of the Year for Children (Grades K–5)
  • Best Photograph ("Frog and Earthworm")
  • Best Visual Story ("Creature Features")
  • Best Feature Article ("Got Blood?")
  • Whole Publication (Ranger Rick's Just for Fun, Fall Issue)


  • Periodical of the Year for Children (Grades K-5)
  • Best Feature Story ("Nature Did It First," April 2009)
  • Best Visual Story ("Wild and Weird," Oct. 2009))
  • Best Photograph (April 2009)


  • Best Design/Whole Publication, Oct. 2008 issue
  • Best Article Design ("Noisy Boys Band," Sept. 2008)
  • Best Feature Article ("Noisy Boys Band," Sept. 2008)


  • Best Visual Story ("Island of the Bats," October 2007)
  • Best Photograph ("Fruit Eating Bat," October 2007)


  • Best Magazine Illustration ("What's Lurking in Your Lawn?" Sept. 2006)
  • Best Visual Article ("Skin," Dec. 2006)
  • Best Feature Story ("The Scoop on Poop," March 2006)
  • Best Visual Story ("Hum, Hum Hummers," June 2006)



  • Best Feature Article ("Meat-Eating Plants, " Nov. 2003)


  • Best Feature Article ("Open Wide, Look Inside, It's Alive!" Feb. 2002)
  • Best Illustration ("Open Wide, Look Inside, It's Alive!" Feb. 2002)
  • Best How-To Feature ("Good Pet, Bad Pet," June 2002)
  • Best Visual Story ("Wahoo, Kangaroo!" Feb. 2002)


  • Golden Lamp Award finalist
  • Winner for Best Visual Story ("All About Me," June 2000)

Note: Before 2000 or so, the Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) was known as EdPress.


  • EdPress Winner for Primates Special Issue (October 1997 issue)


  • EdPress Golden Lamp Honor Award


  • EdPress Distinguished Achievement Award


  • EdPress Golden Lamp Award for best overall magazine (October 1997 issue)

Parents' Choice Foundation

  • Parents' Choice Foundation Gold Medal, 2016
  • Parents' Choice Foundation Gold Medal, 2015
  • Parents' Choice Foundation Gold Medal, 2014
  • Parents' Choice Foundation Gold Medal, 2013
  • Parents' Choice Foundation Gold Medal, 2012
  • Parents' Choice Foundation Gold Medal, 2011
  • Parents' Choice Foundation Gold Medal, (Ranger Rick's Just for Fun, 2011)
  • Parents' Choice Foundation Silver Medal, 2010
  • Parents' Choice Foundation Gold Medal, 2009
  • Parent's Choice Foundation, Gold Medal, 2008
  • Parents' Choice Foundation, Award Winner, 2006, for NWF: Kids & Families website
  • Parents' Choice Foundation, Gold Medal, 2003
  • Parents' Choice Foundation, Gold Medal, 1999
  • Parents' Choice Foundation, Gold Medal, 1996

The Learning Magazine Teachers' Choice Awards


  • Teachers' Choice Award for the Family


  • Teachers' Choice Award for the Family (for Ranger Rick magazine and its Educator's Guide)

Other Awards

  • 2013 - NAPPA (National Parenting Publications Awards) Silver Winner (Children's Virtual Category for Ranger Rick's Tree House)
  • 2001 - Folio Editorial Excellence Award Silver Winner for Outstanding Editorial Work
  • 1996 - Society of National Association Publishers General Excellence Award
  • 1991 - National Magazine Award finalist for special issue on frogs[11]


The magazine is named after Ranger Rick, the raccoon protagonist who was first portrayed extinguishing a forest fire within the first issue.[2] Ranger Rick and his friends, Scarlett Fox and Boomer Badger have many adventures together (as depicted in the magazine's regularly featured cartoon and fiction stories) and always look for new ways to help preserve the environment.[5]

In the classroom[edit]

Ranger Rick is sometimes incorporated in elementary science classrooms to enhance the interest of environmental conservation in young children.[7]

Recent modifications[edit]

Because technology has greatly influenced and impacted the lives of children today, Ranger Rick magazine has made modifications in order to appeal to the children, who are becoming increasingly distant in engaging in outdoor exploration.[2] In order to inspire a new generation of conservationists, attracting young readers is essential to magazines that promote environmental awareness and preservation efforts.[12] Ranger Rick magazine has realized this importance of maintaining natural interest in young people. The magazine has since made changes within their content[2] in order to appeal to a changed generation of children, not only for profit, but for the future of conservational efforts. The magazine has made such changes, for example, in the amount of narrative, by replacing the majority of narrative pieces with more visually engaging elements.[2] Also, the Ranger Rick character himself has had a transformation as he once appeared as an accurate representation of a real raccoon, to becoming a very unrealistic, cartoon-like figure.[2] Some sections of the magazine have been modified as well, such as placing the text and titles in more modern and ideal locations to visually draw in readers.[2]

Ranger Rick Jr.[edit]

Ranger Rick Jr. is a magazine for children ages 4 to 7.[13] It has its origins in Your Big Backyard, a magazine aimed at preschoolers and kids ages 3 to 7. It was established in 1979 as a sister publication to Ranger Rick and Wild Animal Baby, both published by the National Wildlife Federation. The bulk of the magazine consisted of children's activities.[14]

The name of the magazine was changed to Big Backyard in September, 2011.[15] In December 2012 NWF merged Wild Baby Animal and Big Backyard to create a new magazine for children ages 4 to 7, called Ranger Rick, Jr..[13]


  1. ^ "Ranger Rick: About Us". National Wildlife Federation. Retrieved October 8, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Kenneth B. Kidd, Wild things: children's culture and ecocriticism (Wayne State University Press, 2004)
  3. ^ "About Us - National Wildlife Federation," http://www.nwf.org/Kids/Ranger-Rick/Parents-and-Educators/About-Us.aspx.
  4. ^ "Magazines for Families and Children". National Wildlife Federation. Retrieved October 8, 2007.
  5. ^ a b c "Meet Ranger Rick". National Wildlife Federation. Retrieved March 18, 2010.
  6. ^ a b "New Children's Magazine". Young Children. 22 (6). September 1967. JSTOR 42720726.
  7. ^ a b c d National Science Resources Center (U.S.), Resources for teaching elementary school science (National Academies Press, 1996)
  8. ^ "Children's Magazines". Book Market. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  9. ^ a b c Quad, "Ranger Rick is printed.," Ranger Rick 43, no. 5 (May 2009): 2.
  10. ^ Quad, "Ranger Rick is printed.", Ranger Rick 43, no. 5 (May 2009): 2.
  11. ^ a b "Awards & Honors - National Wildlife Federation," http://www.nwf.org/Kids/Ranger-Rick/Parents-and-Educators/Awards.aspx.
  12. ^ Brian Nearing, Linking kids to great outdoors: Agency starts magazine that aims to instill love of nature in the young (Times Union (Albany, NY), December 19, 2007).
  13. ^ a b FAQs About Ranger Rick Jr. Magazine
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-15. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  15. ^ [1]

External links[edit]