Jobs in Parks

For the second year, I was asked to come to DeWitt Middle School in Ithaca to be a speaker during their “Looking to the Future Day,” their annual career day for 8th grade students. So, on November 30, I used my Powerpoint to explain the broad range of parks, preserves, and similar sites and organizations where one might pursue a career in “Parks and Recreation.” After fumbling for several minutes with wires, I hooked up a lapel mike to myself and started my video camera and recorded my talk for Walk in the Park TV (episode 31). Later, I exported all the Powerpoint slides as jpegs and then imported them into my video editor to illustrate my talk. 95% of the show is the slides with my voice beneath, while I navigate across each image on the screen as I discuss the topic. This is essentially a version of a talk I gave at Wells College last winter. You may find it interesting. It also is being shown on Ithaca’s public access cable TV channel 13, with airings scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday, each day at 10:30 a.m., and finally on Tuesday at 8:00 p.m., though the station manager does show it at other times as well.

Below is my description of my talk for the students when they signed up for it:

Mary is a bookkeeper, Doug is a carpenter, Jane is a Jack-of-all-trades, Mike likes working with people, Brittany loves hiking, Sam loves landscaping, Jody loves kids, and Jorge is interested in law enforcement. Which among them could find a satisfying career in parks and recreation?

All of them.

It takes a broad team of professions to run a park, or a park system. Parks are natural places, but parks serve people. Every park has to strike a balance between preserving nature and making it accessible, safe, and enjoyable for the public. There is a career for you in parks and recreation, whether you are purchasing land, making a landscape plan, mowing lawns, or training staff; or constructing and maintaining park trails, roads, campgrounds, buildings, swimming areas, boat launches and marinas, golf courses, and playgrounds; or conducting nature education activities, running a concert series, staffing a recreation center, designing publications and exhibits; or managing a payroll, personnel records, grant writing, or secretarial and administrative work. If you want to be a biologist, geologist, historian, or biological technician, there are jobs in parks and recreation.