Park Technician, Scioto Grove Metro Park
Charlotte, North Carolina
Photo: Anna next to the foam bison at Scioto Grove Metro Park’s 3D archery course.
What I do at Metro Parks
I started working as a seasonal maintenance technician at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park in September 2019 while I was still a student at The Ohio State University (OSU). I was promoted to Part-Time Technician here at Scioto Grove Metro Park in September 2020. I love working with my hands and find it a perfect balance for the intellectual rigors of my college work.
One of my regular duties is to maintain the archery range targets. The foam 3D targets get quite a beating! I often have to use a foam sealer and then polish and spray paint the giant models of animals, like the bison, the alligator, and the dinosaur. Another duty, and a very moving one, for me, is to help maintain the Reagan Tokes Memorial Garden. Reagan was at the same high school as me, in Toledo, and I met her there. There are times when I got quite emotional while weeding, pruning, or mulching the gardens. Recently, I suggested we repaint the two swing seats in Reagan’s garden with scarlet and gray colors.
What I love most about my job
Just being able to work outside all day is wonderful for me, and I love it that I get to see the positive results from all my hard work. A prime example of that is the difference we made by clearing all the invasive honeysuckle along Grant Run Creek, on both sides of the rope bridge. It’s created great views of the bridge itself, and of the creek, viewed from the bridge. On top of that, I’ve learned so many skills and become proficient in carpentry and woodworking, as well as plumbing and electrical work.
My favorite Metro Parks activity
Hands-down, my favorite Metro Parks activity is walking my dog, Sundance. He’s a golden retriever and he loves the Wagtail Trail at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. I named him after the “kid” in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
My favorite Metro Parks story that includes a positive guest interaction
As Maintenance Technicians, we have fewer interactions with guests than our Park Rangers do, but there are times when guests will come up to you and thank you for what you do to keep the parks in great condition. One time, a guest said to me that I must have the “coolest job on Earth”, which made me feel good and reinforced, for me, that what I do is important for the parks, and for the community.
Something to share about guest service and creating a positive experience
I think we enhance our guests’ visits to the parks just by acknowledging them with a friendly smile and a brief “hello,” and I know they appreciate it, too. On occasions, I’ve stopped by The Grove Lodge during a function to ask guests if they need anything. They welcome that kind of friendly courtesy. More than once, guests have responded by inviting me into their gathering to have cupcakes or lemonade.
If I could go anywhere in the world and time and money were not a concern…
I want to go to New Zealand. I fell in love with the country after watching the Lord of the Rings movies, which were filmed there. The landscape is so beautiful!
Life news to share
After seven years of study at OSU, I’m scheduled to graduate in March 2022 with my Masters in Environment and Natural Resources Policy. I actually met my husband, Harmon, at OSU and he also works for Metro Parks as an Interpretive Aide at Slate Run Living Historical Farm.
Fun facts about me and my family
1. Harmon and I have our own “Funny Farm”. We have a dog, two cats, a turtle, several chickens, a goose, and are getting two goats soon as well, plus some pigmy goats.
2. I graduated High School from the Luanda International School in Angola, Africa, from the International Baccalaureate program, and left as Valedictorian. Because my father was an engineer for BP and was stationed there, I lived in Angola for three years.
3. I love going to live music concerts! I have tickets to see two concerts by Billy Strings and his bluegrass band on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, both in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I’m also into Classic Rock, and saw Axel Rose sing lead vocals with ACDC at one of my favorite concerts ever!
My favorite food and dessert
I forage for mushrooms. There’s nothing better than morels, fried in butter. There are no morels in autumn, but Hen of the Woods make a good substitute. I’m not big on desserts, but an after-dinner Blanton’s bourbon hits the spot.
If I had just 60 seconds to share why I love working at Metro Parks, I’d say…
I have the best team members! We work hard, but my fellow team members help to make work not seem like work at all. I get to spend all my time outdoors, I see how my work improves the environment, I see the seasons change, and I learn something new just about every single day.