Park ranger

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Dan, 26

Dan has worked in environmental management all over Victoria. Now he is stationed at Wilson's Promontory, looking after the plants and animals, and the visiting public. Find out more:

> Fact file
> Profile
> Job specs
> Getting started

Fact file

Job description: Patrols campgrounds; enforces regulations; interacts with and informs the public; maintains the environment, campgrounds and walking tracks.

Subjects studied: English, Biology, Geography, Accounting and Mathematics.

Further training: Applied Science degree in Environmental Management at Deakin University (3 years).

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Profile

Dan is a park ranger who also acts as 'people ranger' at the Tidal River campground in Wilson's Promontory National Park.

He helps protect and enhance the natural environment, particularly the local plant life.

And he also patrols the campsite, fixing any problems and making sure that visitors abide by the Park regulations. Dan's the guy who tells you to keep the noise down at 3am, and the one you come to see when there's a wombat trapped in the toilet block.

Dan maintains the campsite so everyone can enjoy it. This involves ensuring that only native plants grow in the area, weeding out the exotic plants when he comes across them. Another project that interests him is a revamp of the revegetation strategy to make sure that a constant supply of new plants replaces the old ones.

"Environmental management is basically training to become a land manager, to fend off weeds and noxious pests."

Tidal River is not only Dan's responsibility; it's also his home, shared with the other Promontory rangers. Sometimes he works with them in different areas of the National Park; at other times he helps out with the 'Education through Interpretation' program, taking visitors on tours of the park.

Contract work

Dan studied environmental management at university. He then held a permanent job for a couple of years, but switched to contract work-short term and casual jobs-to gain experience. He has worked all over Victoria, doing everything from 'weeding with a chainsaw' to educating school groups.

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Job specs

Park rangers control, supervise and manage national parks, scenic areas, historic sites, nature reserves and other recreational areas.

Duties

A park ranger may perform the following tasks:

  • Assist with guided tours and promote understanding and appreciation of the natural and cultural features of the park
  • Inform visitors of the park facilities and supervise public visits
  • Advise visitors of park rules and regulations and enforce these when necessary
  • Direct parking, control traffic and collect fees from campers and visitors
  • Patrol waterways, roads and tracks to observe and report on the park environment, including the condition of animals and plants
  • Make sure endangered animals and plants are protected, and assist in research projects
  • Make sure that parks, park facilities and equipment are clean and properly maintained
  • Assist in the development of visitor facilities
  • Assist in wildlife management projects, including surveys and monitoring of wildlife
  • Participate in search and rescue operations
  • Supervise and coordinate fire management, weed eradication and pest-control programs
  • Investigate and report to supervisors on matters relating to park management
  • Support local communities in protecting their cultural heritage and in developing sustainable land management practices
  • Conduct research into the protection and recording of Aboriginal and historic sites
  • Supervise and train park staff and volunteers
  • Oversee crews of general maintenance workers and contractors
  • Attend to administrative and clerical duties
  • Prepare, review and implement reports, submissions, management plans, development proposals and environmental impact assessments

A park ranger working in wildlife management may also perform the following tasks:

  • Capture and relocate potentially dangerous animals
  • Manage commercial and recreational harvesting of native wildlife
  • Inspect commercial operations making use of wildlife
  • Process animal permits
  • Care for sick, injured or orphaned animals
  • Clean cages and prepare food and water for caged and captive animals

Personal requirements

  • Able to make accurate observations and recordings
  • Good communication skills
  • Able to organise and supervise work
  • Enjoy dealing with people
  • Able to handle animals with confidence and patience
  • Interested in land management and natural conservation
  • Enjoy science
  • Enjoy working outdoors in all weather conditions
  • Able to endure isolation and limited social contact
  • Mechanical aptitude

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Getting started

Find out more about a career as a park ranger.

Parks Victoria - Becoming a ranger
Level 10/535 Bourke Street Melbourne, VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 8627 4699

Find out more about this career path at myfuture.edu.au (new window) (Note: free registration is required to access the myfuture site).

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