I have had the opportunity to talk to many people about why they became a park ranger. Each story is personal and unique, but the answer Amanda Llanes gave really stood out.
Amanda was a cadet at Skagit Valley College Parks Law Enforcement Academy when we introduced by Commander Bill Overby. She was attending the academy on a scholarship from Hawaii Pacific Parks Association. Commander Overby thought her story was worth sharing.
She has taken on the responsibility of representing two cultures, both trying to accomplish something through preserving land and culture.
When I asked her why she wanted to be a park ranger, she said she wanted to be a hero. You see, to Amanda, anyone who protects the environment and culture is a hero.
I hope her message reaches anyone who works in parks, no matter your position or how long you have been serving.
This interview with Amanda took place while she was a cadet at the Academy. I hope to interview Amanda periodically during her career so we can all follow how she develops. Her career can give us real examples of the challenges and pleasures a ranger will face early in her career. And I hope to get excellent examples of leaders having an impact on her development.
Below is the entire graduation ceremony from the Skagit Valley College Parks Law Enforcement Academy. It is long, but you will hear plenty about Amanda during the ceremony. She wins several awards, get recognition from the Commander and fellow cadets. Amanda also does a cultural presentation to the Commander and other leaders.