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School Bells Ring for Summer Seasonal Rangers

Governors Island National Monument

National Park News

It could be the economy or it could be that Governors Island National Monument has a really great seasonal staff. This month, six of its seasonal rangers are starting or returning to graduate school. Not every seasonal park guide or park ranger will end up choosing the National Park Service as a career, but as a summer job during a person’s college years can be an incredible experience gaining skills for future jobs and a lifelong sense of stewardship of our history and natural environment. So while the monument's summer seasonal employment efforts don't fit neatly into the scientific and natural science emphasis of the C2A "Next Generation Stewards," seasonal employment can accomplish just that.

Governors Island is an unusual park at this stage of its development, with a short, but intense summer public season. Operated jointly with the city of New York's Trust for Governors Island which is leading the redevelopment of the island into a premiere public space, the island is currently open to the public on weekends. Amidst the backdrop of a two century old army post with 60 plus old homes and administrative buildings in a national historic landmark district, on weekends it is a bustling, vibrant venue for concerts, special events, military heritage days, food festivals, art exhibitions and a safe place in to picnic, fly kites and learn to ride a bike.  With all that it draws up to 14,000 visitors in a day.

On the weekdays, when the island is closed to the public and becomes a quiet spot in a busy city harbor, the NPS provides guided tours, allowing visitors to engage the historic army post with its open landscapes and historic houses in a different way. With such a diverse operation, the park interpretive staff has to have a good head for the arts, describing the vision for the island’s future, riding a bike, firing a musket or cannon, developing and presenting tours to a widely diverse urban audience, explaining the four centuries of environmental and social history of New York Harbor, a grasp of two centuries of U.S. Army history and the ins and outs of two War of 1812-era forts.

After all that, graduate school might be a break…

Timarko Mitchell and Lakesha Lee are off to do graduate work at the University of Arkansas - Pine Bluff. Gabby Hornbeck is attending West Virginia University to pursue her masters in public history. Katie Moscowitch heads to Hunter College of City University of New York for her masters in elementary education, Collin Bell attends Columbia University in the masters of public administration program and Kevin Li is in his second year at Brooklyn Law School. As a group, they have 19 seasons of experience on Governors Island. We wish them well in their future endeavors – and if that included one more summer season, we would be fine with that… 


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