Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hometown: Southeast Pennsylvania (Go Eagles!)
Program of study: B.S. in Business Management, Metropolitan State University of Denver
Position in our Outer Banks national parks: Supervisory Park Ranger (Hatteras Island District) and Social Media Manager for Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Where you can be found: My office is in the Principal Keeper’s Quarters at the Cape Hatteras Light Station.
Other national parks you have worked at: Redwood National Park (California), Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming), and Everglades National Park (Florida)
Currently listening to, watching, or reading: Most recently, I finished David Goggins’, “Never Finished” and Brene Brown’s, “Dare to Lead.” Now, I’m listening to “Atomic Habits” by James Clear.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to walk my dogs on the Buxton Woods Trail. I also enjoy running, surfing, body boarding, fishing, beach combing, putting puzzles together, and playing board games.
What do you like most about the Outer Banks?
I love experiencing the different seasons the Outer Banks has to offer. I thoroughly enjoy the hot, sweaty, busy summer, but love the quiet beaches, cool evenings, and beach fires in the fall and winter. It’s the best of both worlds! It’s also intriguing that I get to live within the largest remaining contiguous tract of maritime evergreen forest on the Atlantic Coast, yet still only live a half mile from the beach. Now that’s the best of both worlds!
How did you end up in your current position with the National Park Service?
I’ve been working for Cape Hatteras National Seashore as a seasonal ranger since 2018. The past two years, I lived on Ocracoke Island as the lead Interpretive ranger. In March 2023, I accepted my first permanent position with the National Park Service after working 10 different seasons with them!
What does a typical workday or work week look like for you?
It changes with the seasons. From April to October, my focus is making sure my seasonal team of Interpretive Park Rangers have the tools they need to succeed. This looks like daily morning meetings with them, answering questions throughout the day, scheduling, processing paperwork, and creating social media content to post every day. I’m also the face behind many of the social media inquiries, questions, and comments on our Instagram and Facebook pages for the Seashore. There’s a lot of hiring for seasonals and volunteers involved in the off-season, along with creating new trainings and developing educational content for schools and field trip groups.
What do you enjoy most about working at Cape Hatteras National Seashore?
I love being in a position where I can help develop and grow future leaders. What makes this job most rewarding for me is that I’m able to have strong, meaningful connections with humans and nature alike.
What is a favorite memory you have from your time working in the Outer Banks?
In the beginning of all our ranger programs, we give a safety talk on rip currents and what you should do if you get caught in one. In 2018, my first season working as a ranger here, my family came to one of my talks and heard that safety message. The very next day, my sister was caught in a rip current and went missing in the ocean for 45 minutes. Lifeguards came on scene and sent out jet skis looking for her. They found her floating a quarter mile up the beach, but she was alive. Floating saved her life that day. Afterwards, she said she remembered me saying “Don’t fight it, float,” and that is what helped her stay calm and float until help arrived. If it wasn’t for that ranger talk and safety message in June 2018, that story could have had a very different outcome.
Why are our Outer Banks national parks important?
There are so many “firsts” here on the Outer Banks: America’s first National Seashore, the first English child born in a “New World” English colony, the first powered, sustained, and controlled airplane flight in the world, the first life-saving station in the country to have an all-Black crew and commanding officer, and the list goes on. There’s an incredible curiosity in people when they hear about firsts – they want to know more about them and listen more intensely. By telling these stories, there’s an opportunity to leave them with a lasting memory, in hopes that we all leave a positive lasting impact on these national treasures.
Is there anything else you would like people to know about you or about our Outer Banks national parks?
I’m an island hopper! My husband, Rodney Lapp, is also a Park Ranger for Cape Hatteras National Seashore, but on Ocracoke Island. In my off time, you can find us travelling on the ferry to and from Hatteras and Ocracoke.