Inspiring a New Generation of Park Rangers

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College students with a desire to be national park rangers learn about the job at Teton National Park.
The national park service academy is a week long course designed to showcase what a park ranger really does.
National Park Interpreter Millie Jimenez said “this week is the national park service academy week, we bring 20 students across the country and give them an immersive experience so they go through the week learning about the national park service opportunities, units, jobs, the whole entire spectrum.”
Academy student Alejandro Cruz said “I eventually want to end up working for the national park service so getting an opportunity like this is a great foundation and provides a good stepping stone to get into that line of work.”
The academy started when national park officials realized they needed more diversity amongst park rangers.
Jimenez stated “we are getting the young students, the millennials, a really good representation of the united states because we need those future stewards and advocates and leaders for the park service. If we want the park service to get to 200 years, those people are going to be the important people.”
Cruz mentioned “to see that the national park is recognizing that and wants to move in a direction where each group is represented fairly and equally is an empowering and good thing they’re working on and towards.”
Thursday’s lesson gave students the inside look at search and rescue operations.
Academy Alumni Jasmin-Marie Jones said “you don’t realize how often the people have to go out and help other people because they get in silly situations and from my personal experience one of the rangers here actually inspired me to go out and get my wilderness EMT so I could help make people more comfortable in their public lands.”
All academy students will get internships this summer at different parks across the country.
Jones mentioned “my internship I was actually a cave guide, Timpanogos cave national monument, something I never would have thought in a million years I’d get to do.”
Over twenty students take part every year.
Students are recruited by national park staff from historically black, latino or tribal colleges country-wide.