Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hello Mr. Park Ranger!

Well, it's been over a year now of hard work. 7 days a week for most of that time. 6 days a week after River joined us. No vacation as of yet (except for a day or two here and there). Some have worked harder for the job, but most agreed I had worked hard enough for it.
As of May the 3rd I will officially be a Park Ranger!

More than 3 years ago, after Kari and I lost the baby, and after I had taken a job as an IT Administrator to support our family, I realized I had headed in the wrong direction with my career choices from an early stage. Not to say I regret them, because they have all given me both experience and perspective, but they were not where my heart was. So after 3 years of contemplation, understanding, research, self-education, training, and hard work, I have reached another beginning. And like all of mine and Kari's escapades, it is going to be an adventure. I will be a Park Ranger with the Tennessee State Parks system at a protected natural area called Radnor Lake.

We are in the process of putting our home on the market so we can move into a house inside the park. I will be working opening shifts (5am to 1:30pm) until they send me to the law enforcement academy. That will hopefully be the end of this summer. The opening shifts are actually what I prefer because I have the afternoons to do things and I can take care of River while Kari goes to work.

My last day of work at William Morris Agency will be this Friday the 24th. Not that I am excited about leaving my friends there, because I will miss them, but I am excited to not be sitting in a florescent office with no windows and a computer staring back at me all day. That's not how I wanted to spend the rest of my life, so I made the choice and changed.

I really cannot express through a blog how elated I am about this! To spend every day outside, working with my hands, teaching people about the outdoors and protecting the environment like I was taught growing up, working with animals, protecting the thing that I love. To me, that is the way to spend a lifetime. That is the start to making a difference in this world.
The park I will be working at gets on average a million visitors a year. I will probably run into a quarter of those visitors throughout that time. So I have the opportunity to teach 250000 people about the outdoors, about the animals and plants around them, and to bring them into a greater understanding of the environment. When people understand something, they take an ownership of it. They feel more responsible for it. They help take care of it. That is what I am looking forward to. That is why I am excited about it.

After May the 3rd, come out to the park (if you live in town) and look out for me. I'll be around, mulching trails, fixing something, doing educational programs with our hawks, owls, and snakes, directing traffic, or out looking for people breaking the rules. Once I am there for a while I will blog about my experiences.

Thank you to anyone out there who supported me during this whole thing. I know some people thought it was a dumb idea to take a pay cut to do something like this. But on the whole I had alot of support from family and friends.


Sarah said...

Congrats, Ryan! I work for Texas State Parks and it's really the best. I don't work in a park but I get to visit them a lot. It's a great career and a wonderful place to raise River.

Sarah Lisle

Walsh said...

Let the hazing begin!!

Seriously, welcome to the crew. Its gonna be fun, and you suck for taking my opening shifts :)

Anonymous said...

Yay!!!!! That's great Ryan! Blake and I are excited for you. You deserve to enjoy how you spend your life! Look forward to seeing you out at the park this summer!


Anonymous said...

congratulations! that's one of our favorite places to go.. we're so happy for you and kari! i wish i could get coop to think about something he truly loved to do.. maybe i'll bring him to one of those canoe things you guys do! anyhow, tomorrow's your last day so happy new job!

Mama Callie said...

Congrats! I know you've been wanting that for some time and what a beautiful time of year to switch over!

Layne said...

Honestly, you cannot put a pricetag on being totally happy and satisfied with what you do day in and day out. Contentment with your career is so very important and a lesson a lot of people never truly learn.

I've spent two years back in school to become certified to teach elementary school and absolutely love it.

You cannot put a pricetag on happiness.

Congrats! I'm happy for you all. :-)

Anonymous said...


We are so very happy that this job became available to you. You worked hard to earn it. Hope everything goes well for you. Hope to be up there soon. Mom and Dad