Our Meet Your Ranger series introduces you to the many amazing people who support our Outer Banks national parks every day!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hometown: Mobile, Alabama
Program of study, relevant job experience, or relevant life experience:
I took a few breaks during college to figure out how I fit into the world and where I wanted my career to take me. I was lucky to find Camp ASCCA (Alabama’s Special Camp for Children and Adults), where I worked seasonally for a few years. As camp’s “Nature Girl,” I fell back in love with outdoor education! I kept my biology and math degrees going but started to look at jobs in outdoor recreation.
Position in our Outer Banks national parks: Lead Interpretive Park Ranger
Where you can be found: Wright Brothers National Memorial
Other national parks you have worked at: I volunteered at Zion National Park, then moved to Bullfrog, Utah, and worked for Glen Canyon National Recreation Area as a park ranger and biological science technician. (Ask me about quagga mussels!)
Currently reading: My 2023 goal is to make more time to read books which aren’t about the Wright Brothers. 🙃 I’m currently reading, “Happiness Is a Choice You Make,” by John Leland, for book club!
What do you like to do in your free time? Anything outside at any time of year. I moved here last summer so I’m still settling in and exploring the area. My last park was a two-hour drive from a real grocery store, so it’s nice to be in a “city” again!
What do you like most about the Outer Banks? I love that there’s something for everyone, and Bankers are so welcoming – I just tried roller derby for the first time and the group of folks that run it are amazing!
What inspired you to follow this career path?
Growing up, I was part of a great Girl Scout troop with leaders who valued stewardship, independence, and community. My family visited National Parks, where I learned and explored. Later I realized that I also loved educating and preserving stories, and being a park ranger lets me combine all of that!
What does a typical workday or work week look like for you?
We have a quick team meeting every day and iron out our plan. Then I generally work on a few projects, give a few programs, and plan for future events and ideas. Every day is different – some days I’m sitting in on meetings about accessibility, some days I’m collaborating with other parks on social media content, and sometimes I’ll walk up to the Wright Brothers Monument to get my steps in and chat with visitors.
What do you enjoy most about working at Wright Brothers National Memorial?
Number one: The team! Our volunteers and employees are incredible, and I appreciate how each division works together toward our common mission.
Number two: The story! We are constantly finding little “mysteries” around the park and the Wright brothers’ history. Their story may feel complete, but we’re always learning more!
Number three: The park! I love how community members recreate here. Wright Brothers National Memorial offers a beautiful, safe place to run, walk your dog, have a picnic, or fly a kite, and it’s very cool to get to know the “regulars”!
What is a favorite memory you have from your time working in the Outer Banks?
Any time I get to swear in a Junior Ranger! Or whenever I see on someone’s face that they “get it.” That makes everything – the heat, the sweat, the hard work – worth it, to see everything “click” for a visitor.
Why are our Outer Banks national parks important?
We have everything. You want history? We got it. Wildlife? Tons of it. I love that we’re acknowledging how the Outer Banks have been shaped by time and nature but also by the people who have lived here.
Is there anything else you would like people to know about you or about our Outer Banks national parks?
I do have a favorite lighthouse, but I’ll never tell which one it is! My Ranger Tip: If you like to visit public lands, get an annual or lifetime pass! They range in price (from $0 to $80) and cover entrance fees for TON of federal lands! You can purchase them online or at Wright Brothers National Memorial.
To learn more about public lands passes, please visit: https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm