16 Jun Explore, Learn, and Protect!
I have been a Grand Teton Naturalist Ranger for officially a week now. I have met people from all over the world, seen a Grizzly and her cub roam freely, initiated a 70 year old in as a “junior park ranger”, and helped an injured hiking group down a mountain–and it’s only been one week! All this new responsibility has been a chisel to my soul. I feel both insecure and excited and I’d have it no other way. Once my work day is over, much of my time here at the Tetons is spent scoping out trails, plants, and animals for identification so that I may give more useful lessons or suggestions when I talk with visitors. Part of our job here in the Tetons is to design our own educational programs to present to visitors. Our educational programs can, for the most part, be tailored to our interests within the scope of the park’s history, ecology, geology, etc. I’ve taken a huge interest into the Native American culture that helped guide the incoming fur trappers and European explorers. I’m planning on highlighting their story more on my 3 hour hiking program. It’s a goal I know will be difficult as information is limited dating so far back, and specifically to the Tetons, but it’s one I think will help build the vision and integrity of this park that was discussed in training. Overall, I’m still trying to establish myself here and feel more comfortable when put into a position of “know how” or leadership. There is so much to know and so many things that could go wrong but it is a challenge as much as it is a gift. To have a responsibility– a job, to learn and grow is nothing short of a blessing and I’m learning to praise those situations where I’m left confused, unsure, and seeking for answers. From what I have experienced so far, interpretation is a special role of knowing and giving. And, those moments of insecurity serve as the kick to not only know more but to communicate better as well. It’s a lesson I hope I take far from the Tetons and into many endeavors I have yet to encounter.