Anela is a park ranger with the National Park Service. I met her when she was based at Pt. Reyes National Seashore, where she worked as an educator and interpretive ranger. She was just about to relocate to Katmai National Park on Kodiak Island in Alaska. Anela graciously let me crash the appreciation party that she held for her volunteers, whom she managed, and it was abundantly clear how much of an impact this warm-hearted woman has had within her community. 


ANELA in her own words:

What do you do? 

I am a Park Ranger for the National Park Service by profession, but also hopeless fly fisherwoman and trail wanderer. 

How did you come into the work that you do now?

I met a park ranger in New Zealand who inspired me to search for work in the outdoor field. I thought, "that's a pretty cool job." When I returned from my semester abroad, I started volunteering with the National Park Service as a botany intern. What I really wanted to do was to help and inspire people, so I applied for a job in interpretation. Now, I get to interpret the language of the earth to people. 

What are the biggest challenges of your work?

Climate change. The earth is feeling the effects of climate change, which poses a threat to the flora, fauna and landscapes that the parks" protect. The mission of the National Park Service is to preserve "unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations." If we all don't collectively change, the effects on our parks and our earth will be irreversible where the future will not be able to enjoy it. 

What do you love most about your work?

Connecting. Connecting with different people, connecting with the park, and connecting all of it together. I feel lucky to be paid to intimately know nature and to share what I've learned with others. My hope is for people to form connections with a place I love. The best part, is that they do! 

What are the biggest misconceptions about what you do?

A lot of people think I carry a gun. I'm not an enforcer, I'm an educator. 

Have you found that being a woman impacts your experience in your field? 

When I was younger, I was overlooked a few times. People wanted their directions and information from the white male park ranger. It used to bother me, but understandably people have their biases. I'm good at my job and I have a lot to offer. I am happy to help anyone who needs it.