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Internship as Park Ranger Influences Career Outlook

An undergraduate student spent six months as a park ranger at William H. Harsha Lake where she worked on youth programs, trail maintenance and wetlands reclamation projects.

Date: 12/5/2012
By: Kayla McKinney
Other Contact: Tom Robinette
Other Contact Phone: (513) 556-8577
Editorís note: Kayla McKinney is a third-year Environmental Studies major pursuing minors in Biological Sciences and Womenís, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
Environmental studies major Kayla McKinney interned as a park ranger at William H. Harsha Lake in Batavia.

For the past six months, I have been interning as a park ranger at William H. Harsha Lake through a US Army Corps of Engineers program.
The lake, commonly known as East Fork Lake, is a multipurpose recreation area originally built for flood control and management in Batavia in the 1970s. The lake is man-made, constructed when the Army Corps of Engineers dammed the east fork of the Little Miami River for flood protection in the eastern region of Cincinnati.

The park ranger internship consisted of recreational and natural resource management in the park. I was involved in a variety of efforts, including daily interactions with park visitors and creating childrenís education programs such as Junior Rangers, a four-day education camp for children teaching them nature and survival skills.

The internship also consisted of many long-term projects, such as the continual maintenance of several hiking trails in the park, collecting and planting native wildflowers and the construction of newly reclaimed wetlands.

The internship taught me a lot about the natural world. I have learned to identify many native trees, plants and animals, and have a deeper understanding of the way our world works. I could see myself pursuing a career with parks.

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