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Diary of a Park Ranger

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, State Park Diary

Hello there,

[Dan] My name is Dan and I am a park ranger at Governor Nelson State Park near Madison, Wisconsin. It's located right on beautiful Lake Mendota and I can see the state capitol from here. What a beautiful place to be every day, working in the great outdoors.

I want to share a little bit about myself and tell you just how I got interested in becoming a park ranger. My interest in the outdoors came from spending time hiking and playing in the fields and ponds at my grandparents country home. Biology became my favorite class in high school. Then I decided to go to college at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point and graduated with two Bachelor's Degrees, one in Biology and another in Wildlife Management. I took several classes and learned the names of plants, the types and habits of animals, and how to care for and manage the natural environment. My favorite class there was Ornithology (the study of birds).

During college I worked many summer jobs. I was a house roofer and sider, a factory worker, a boating safety patrol officer, and a park ranger. Before starting at Governor Nelson State Park in 1986, I worked part-time jobs with the Department of Natural Resources as a park ranger, a conservation warden, and a fish hatchery technician. Whew, that s a lot of different types of jobs. I know these experiences, the many years of school, and all my other jobs helped to prepare me for my current ranger job.

When I m not working, some of my personal interests include: hiking, photography, birding, biking, cross-country skiing, and prairie restoration. It seems like those interests as well as my job always keep me where I want to be....in the great outdoors! Why don't you read some of my work diary and see what types of things I do this time of year as a Park Ranger at Governor Nelson State Park. Be sure to come and visit me some time.

Sincerely,
Dan
Park Ranger
Governor Nelson State Park, Wisconsin

Read Dan's Diary entry for September, January, or July.

Dan answers this letter about what classes to take and how to get experience as a park ranger.

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