New Connections

I didn’t realize how big a park ranger’s network could get until I started meeting new people almost weekly. It’s interesting to learn their background and hear how their experiences and interests have led them to where they are now. It’s made me aware that there are many avenues to help the environment, and that reaching out, even just to say hi, can go a long ways.

I like to think back to a moment I had recently. Isabel, the Environment for the Americas intern I am residing with, and I were going out of town about an hour away to volunteer to pick up trash along the Santa Cruz River. We had trouble finding the location where the volunteer group would meet. This was the second time this would happen- driving all the way to Tucson and not being able to find the volunteer group. To make the most of the trip, we decided to get some coffee and breakfast at a local shop. As we entered the coffee shop, Isabel immediately spotted a familiar face- it was a Community Volunteer Ambassador our supervisor had introduced us to a few weeks back. We ordered our coffee and, as we waited, we greeted the familiar person. We told him we were just passing time because we were not able to find the group that cleans up the river. Little did we know, he was heading there himself! He had just stopped at the shop to buy a drink for him and another volunteer. The timing couldn’t have been any better. We joined him to the river.

At the river, we met a few other volunteers. We mostly spent our time cleaning and speaking with one of the program coordinators. We spoke about our future plans, and they were kind enough to exchange their contact information in case we wanted to chat again. The interactions of that day remind me how important it is to network. If our supervisor hadn’t introduced us to the CVA, we most likely wouldn’t have heard about the river cleanup. We most likely wouldn’t have built connections with the rest of the crew. We were extremely lucky to have known this person and spotted him at that exact moment.

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