Sorry for the delay, but I am back and mostly settled-in. October seemed to fly-by, and as I was preparing to leave Missouri, my supervisor, Big John the Badass, was leaving for his new job managing wilderness areas out in Colorado.
At the summit of Rock Pile Mtn, Rock Pile Mtn Wilderness
I want to extend a big thank-you to him for all the advice he has given me, as well as for the great times we’ve shared. I also wish to thank Becky Ewing (District Ranger at the Pososi, MO US Forest Service office), Jennifer Falkey (NNIS Coordinator/Natural Resources Specialist), Bill Anderson (Recreation manager), and Lisa Essmyer (Recreation manager), for being fantastic role models and helping me achieve my goals. It has been great working alongside you. I also want to thank the Ozark Trail Association as whole for their continuing support in maintaining and building the Ozark Trail. I have enjoyed building trail alongside you all, and I hope one day to return to Missouri and hike some of the sections. Last but not least, I extend my gratitude to the Student Conservation Association, without which, I would likely never have been given such a wonderful opportunity to monitor and manage our special natural areas.
I could not have asked for a better 6 months, despite weeks of 100+ F heat and enduring the torment of chiggers; for not only have I thoroughly enjoyed working with the aforementioned people, but I have come to realise that my passion lies in protecting our wilderness areas. In a way, my time in Missouri felt like a working vacation, with 3 large, natural offices totaling some 30,000 acres.
That said, I have worked 1081 hours for the Forest Service, completing solitude surveys, recreation-site analyses, and invasive plant studies in the Bell Mtn, Rock Pile Mtn, and Irish Wildernesses. Having worked for over 1000 hours, I can now apply to GS-4 level jobs within the US Forest Service, NPS, BLM, and FWS. And with that experience, I have earned the following certifications:
- Chainsaw B Bucking
- Leave No Trace Trainer
- Federal gov driver’s license
- FFT-2 grade C (Fire Fighter Type 2, for fighting wildland fires)
Well folks, it sure has been wonderful taking you along during my time in Missouri :). Right now I’ve got a bunch of projects around the house to do, including a wood stove installation, but looking ahead, I intend on applying to seasonal wilderness ranger positions on USAJobs. I have no idea where I will end up working, but my options are far from limited. I could even choose to take another SCA position, and I will be looking on thesca.org for future opportunities.