Our Meet Your Ranger series introduces you to the many amazing people who support your OBX national parks every day!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi! I’m Rebekah Smith and I’m 30 years old. I hate being called “Becky,” I’m a diehard Atlanta Falcons fan and the choice not to use an Oxford comma is a hill I will die on! I miss Waffle House so much.
Hometown: Decatur, Georgia
Education: B.S. in Biological Science, Georgia State University
Position in your park: Park Ranger (Interpretation)
Where you can be found: Catch me at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site!
Other national parks you’ve worked at: None! Fort Raleigh is my first national park.
What do you like most about the Outer Banks?
Definitely the dark skies. As an amateur photographer — heavy emphasis on amateur — I love trying to get my perfect Milky Way shot and the Outer Banks is an excellent place for that.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
After opening the Visitor Center, a typical workday for me begins with hanging out at the front desk answering questions, swearing in Junior Rangers of all ages and orienting visitors to what our park has to offer (i.e. telling people where the bathroom is). I generally have three programs a day: a Freedmen’s Colony talk, a Lost Colony walk and talk and a more informal Lost Colony trivia game.
What is your favorite thing about working in our OBX national parks?
Gotta say I have the coolest coworkers on the planet, and I don’t just mean at Fort Raleigh! I love going undercover to other parks to experience their ranger programs because I know how talented the Interpretation Division is.
What inspired you to follow this career path?
To be honest, public speaking is the last job I ever envisioned myself having. I was so shy as a child I couldn’t order for myself at restaurants, and I cried giving my senior project because I was so terrified of presenting. Somehow, over the years the jobs I’ve had have shaped me into a storyteller and it’s my calling now.
What is your favorite memory from working at our OBX national parks?
So far, it’s having my Freedmen’s Colony program filmed by Outer Banks Forever — specifically giving that talk as part of a celebration for Juneteenth in a Kente headwrap, which serves as a cultural tie for the African diaspora of our roots. That was a powerful day for me.
Why are our OBX national parks important?
The history up and down OBX is expansive and impressive. Pair that with beautiful scenery and native wildlife and the OBX Group of parks is a national treasure. For the National Park Service to use resources for the protection and interpretation of its natural resources is commendable.
Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you or the parks?
Fort Raleigh is a smaller park, but it packs a LOT of cool history. Swing by and I’ll be happy to tell you all about it!