Maleen, Olivia and Julie are three of 86 youth who were employed in the BC Parks Student Ranger and Youth Employment Programs across the province this year. The Student Ranger Program is now in its fourth year and employs student ranger crews. The Youth Employment Program is in its second year and took a new form this year with 11 co-op positions and 26 student ranger intern positions, under the broader umbrella of the StrongerBC Future Leaders Program.
Maleen Mund was a student ranger crew lead in Williams Lake. Recently graduated from UVic with a bachelor degree in geography and environmental studies, Maleen feels the Student Ranger Program aligned well with everything she has studied, and “aligns with my values of nature and culture – managing our wild spaces to stay wild and beautiful and to be there for the public to enjoy.”
Maleen describes her job, “Something that I’ve really gotten out of this experience is working with the staff and POs (park operators), just everyone you meet, seeing how everyone started and different backgrounds and you learn something from each person which is awesome.”
She is also a self-described, “big iNaturalist nerd”, and is grateful that her time with BC Parks has allowed lots of time for iNatting.
Olivia Gribbon, was a student ranger based in Goldstream Provincial Park. Olivia is studying science at the University of Victoria. She feels that the student ranger experience helped her focus her studies on what areas to go into. “I’ve liked working in the office and the field, they both bring different things.”
Olivia worked on an orientation policy and created resources for new staff. In the field, she learned how to do long-term ecological monitoring. She also researched information on how different provinces and territories handle common park issues such as dogs and other domestic animals in parks.
Julie Korver was a student ranger community engagement intern in the Youth Employment Program, based in Prince George. Julie worked with BC Parks’ Community Engagement and Education team. Julie is in environmental studies at Kings University, Edmonton. Julie worked on a wide variety of projects, mostly with a public engagement focus, whether public outreach like Parks Day, but also behind the scenes, like interpretive trail sign content, and she did some school presentations.
On one field trip, Julie, and a conservation intern, went to Kinney Lake, in Mount Robson Provincial Park, to set up a microphone for recording bat echolocation to collect data on bat diversity and population. Julie has had “so many memorable experiences this summer, definitely during the bat walk in Charlie Lake. It was a full circle experience, because when I was a kid we would go to the same kind of interpretive events, and now I was leading one!”
“I think the main thing, working with parks, I realized how many different career paths I could take.”