Ranger Kathryn's Arches

July 16, 2009

Teacher-Ranger-Teacher… future

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 6:52 am

This is my 100th post.  It is an important one.

Last night five of us TRTs supped with Paul, our Chief of Interpretation for some bigger area, also a Superintendent of a bunch of parks on the Colorado Plateau.  He is our bosses’  boss.  Our bosses, Nancy and Karen, came along to confirm that this TRT program is the NPS’s best idea since sliced bread.  [Side note: Historically, MOST of our country’s seasonal rangers were what were called “90-day wonders,” and most of those were school teachers who squeezed in an NPS naturalist assignment between Memorial Day and Labor Day.]  Paul was there to build a fire under us and remind us what a special breed we are.

The upshot of the evening, however, was that he summed up his intention to find a way to morph our positions into Seasonal Ranger jobs for next year (or following) if we so desire.  The government has put into place a daunting beaurocratic maze of hiring practices, including centralizing seasonal hiring into one main office in the nation.  Paul despises that idea, for lots of good reasons, but it is the Park Service’s attempt to remain fair and impartial and let things like test results and resumes determine a hire instead of local politics.

Bottom line is this:  Because we are doing a fabulous job, if we desire a “seasonal” (3- to 6- month) position, they will find a way to help that happen.  We can get help writing our resume’ with just the correct words that the feds like to hear — quite different from a regular resume’ — so that we are under high consideration for a coveted job in the high season.  Our boss would give us personal notification of vacancies, as well.  That is how much we are valued here.

Or we can just come back next summer as a Teacher-Ranger.

Let’s just say that the 12-minute drive home from that four-hour dinner left my mind awash with possibilities.  My heart is grateful.


  1. Good Job sis!

    I emailed you earlier in saying “How come you don’t do this full time?” I think that it would be good for you.


    Comment by Chris — July 17, 2009 @ 6:15 pm | Reply

  2. Doors opening . . . what’s on the other side? . . . How much do I want to know? . . . What are the alternatives? . . .
    A fly-on-the-wall inside your brain would be a fun place to be right about now . . .

    Comment by Dad — July 18, 2009 @ 6:51 am | Reply

  3. Oh Kathryn, how clearly I remember the late August morning, 2 years before I retired, when I sat in our camper beside the Judith River, trees turning yellow, cattle lowing here and there, sun sparkling on the water, thinking about the possibilities for the not-too-distant future: WHAT IF – – – we bought our friend’s travel trailer and little piece of property here in remote, rural Montana – – and WHAT IF – – – we began coming up on weekends during the spring, summer, and fall – – – and WHAT IF – – – after our retirement we became snowbirds and spent our entire summers here in this beautiful area? It was one of those eye-opening times when vague dreams became real, as though another world had opened up for consideration. I returned to my job that fall totally engergized with the possibilities ahead. Within 5 months we owned the property and were looking toward the next summer. I will watch your months ahead with great interest. Carol

    Comment by Carol — July 19, 2009 @ 6:46 pm | Reply

  4. This is a passion of yours. It sound’s too good to be true! I also know it will be a hard decision! Don’t let all this take the fun and R&R away from you while you are there.

    Comment by Snow — July 26, 2009 @ 3:23 pm | Reply

  5. How can i apply for teacher ranger summer program? Do they have small family housing.?

    Comment by melissa — October 7, 2010 @ 10:16 am | Reply

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