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Ranger Rick® Magazine
National Wildlife Federation
My Life With A Raccoon
Preserving America's Wild Places for Our Children
In January of 1967 Trudy and Bob Farrand, former Curtis
Publishing company executives, were asked by the National Wildlife Federation
to start a new magazine for children. I was just finishing a degree
in illustration at the Moore College of Art and was asked to interview
for an art assistant position for the magazine, known then as Ranger
Rick Nature Magazine. Three of us interviewed and I got the job.
I moved from my childhood home in the countryside outside Doylestown,
Pennsylvania, to Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia and began my career
in publishing. It is appropriate that I work on a nature magazine as
my childhood home was on Swamp Road. There were no computers in those
days, and the production of a magazine was a tedious process. My job
was to hand-render, with felt markers, all the photographs and illustrations
for each issue. I also helped cut and paste the type in place and aligned
it with a T-square and angle. Believe it or not, I loved my job.
The environment movement was hot, and the magazine was well-established
with 300,000 subscribers by the first Earth Day in 1970. It was about
then that my employers moved me to what they felt was a more suitable
job - working on a magazine for the Campfire Girls. That publication
folded after two years, and I picked up a job designing a series of
nature books for the National Wildlife Federation. After freelancing
for a few years, including writing a children's craft book entitled
Egg Carton Critters, I was offered the position of Art Director
of Ranger Rick.
I moved to the Nation's Capitol and DuPont Circle and joined my old
friend Ranger Rick once again at the headquarters of the National
Wildlife Federation. For the past thirty years, a good portion of my
life has been devoted to teaching children about wildlife and the environmental
problems we face today. Through the use of beautiful photography and
top quality design and illustration, I have tried to inspire and to
give our young readers an appreciation of the natural world. It has
been a very satisfying journey. Along the way I've learned so much that,
to many people, I'm known as the raccoon, Ranger Rick. I've
met and worked with many talented people, all of whom have helped make
the magazine what it is today.
The production of the magazine is much easier today with the help of
computers and digital presses, but our message and mission remain the
same. The demands for open land and environmental problems caused by
man continue to be a problem for wildlife and for all of us. We take
our job of educating and inspiring generations to come quite seriously.
They will inherit the remaining wild places in America and their values
and actions will determine their future.
Whenever my husband and I travel to national parks and nature centers,
we ask the young people working there if they read Ranger Rick
as a child. Almost every answer is a warm, enthusiastic YES! It is very
satisfying to know that in some way my years of work have helped inspire
others to care about wildlife and the affect man has on our world. I
hope Ranger Rick will continue for many more years and will
be successful in getting America's children out-of-doors again, away
from TV and computers. Only then will they discover the peaceful, quiet
gift only nature can bring.
© Copyright 2009 Preserve America