I think I finally know what I want to do for the rest of my life. It's been loitering in the back of my mind ever since I was a child. I've been pre-pre-pre planing my trip to Yosemite this winter. I'm preparing way more then necessary but I'm very anal about these things, it's just me.
I bought a few books on Yosemite as well as the National Parks in that region (Mono Lake, Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, etc). I've been reading about what to do, the background, and the history of the parks. The backgrounds include the people who make the parks run, the people that protect these parks.
Those of you that have known me awhile know my love of nature. Not only animals, I have a love of nature in general. Animals, plants, the rivers and the mountains. I juggled the idea of working with animals but I thought it wouldn't work for me. Ever since I've been a kid I've wanted to work with nature somehow. As I matured I just tacked on "science" to that, I want a job that's in the field of science. I realize now that just because I have an interest in astronomy, meteorology, oceanography, etc...it doesn't mean I would necessarily enjoy a lifetime of this work. That put me back to square one, but still I was determined to find a career path that had to do with nature.
As I was reading these books it hit me like the sun hits Anderson Cooper's shiny hair...the National Park Service (NPS). It hit me and I said out loud to a room devoid of life except for one lazy cat "oh shit, I'm a moron. It's obvious!"
The NPS! Duh! It's been there in front of me this entire time! It's like a big fat guy flying around on cherub wings for five hours and I only just notice him! (sorry for all these lame analogies, it's nearly 3am). I love nature, I love everything about nature. I love the soft side, walking a lonely forest road and knowing that something wonderful is around the corner. I love the raw and savage side of nature, seeing a polar bear catch it's meal. I love it all. What I don't love is people's disregard for nature...and especially our national parks. I know people that think it's a waste of our taxes to help keep these parks open and safe from man's harm. There is nothing wasteful about protecting these treasures, I think the National Park system is one of the best things about this nation. Our land is full of beauty and we need to protect it.
I want to be a part of this.
I do have an obstacle...school. I don't know how I would go about working with the NPS. In a perfect world I would work in a national park and not the federal offices. I would educate the public or work behind the scenes, making sure the local wildlife and the environment itself is protected from all the well meaning, but naive and ignorant park visitors.
I plan on making an appointment with a school counselor to find out what sort of classes I need and any other information I will need to make this a reality. I will also talk to the employees at Yosemite when I go, especially the Rangers.
The photo says it all. (I did not take this photo, it's from DeviantArt)