Hi there! (Marti here). We decided to start an ongoing feature about women and their careers while showcasing how they got there and why they chose their path. We are looking forward to featuring women in science, technology, medicine, research and more. If you are looking for a career change, I hope you are inspired by these stories of women doing what they love.
Hey Jecy! Tell us your backstory. What makes you, you?
I am a park ranger, wife, homesteader, re-enactor, fighter, friend, hunter and traveler.
Wife: I have been married for 8 years to my husband Jesse. Best decision I have ever made
Homesteader: I learned to can from my grandmother 5 years ago and never looked back. This has morphed into eating and buying food as local as possible and owning livestock, on our 8 acres.
Re-enactor/fighter: I participate in the Society for Creative Anachronisms. This is a medieval reenactment group. We do everything from fully armored un-choreographed combat to food and making our own clothing. If they did it in the middle ages there is probably someone in our group who had tried to do it and can tell you about it.
Friend: I believe friends and the people around us make us who we are, they call us out on our faults and drive us to be better people. It is our job to lift people up.
Hunter: I enjoy participating in medieval boar hunts with dogs and a 6ft spear.
Traveler: Having visited many of our national parks and traveled throughout the USA. I am hoping to extend my travels further into Europe. I would love to travel to Serbia and to hike St. John’s Way.
How did you come to have a career in the Metro Parks system? Why do you love it?
I have wanted to be a park ranger since I was in high school. My high school sponsored month long trips out west going from national park to national park learning about ecology, flora, fauna and history along the way. I took this desire to collage and graduated from OSU with a degree in parks and recreation law enforcement. While I was in school I worked as a part time ranger at Glacier Ridge Metro Park with Columbus Metro Parks. I was promoted to full-time park ranger at Sharon Woods Metro Park after a couple years and then transferred to Scioto Audubon Metro Park this past fall.
How do you connect with nature outside of work? Where are you most likely to be found?
I connect with nature outside of work by going hiking with by hiking buddies Jesse (husband) and Jack (dog) or by working on my own property. We live on 8 acres north of Columbus. Along with Jack, we have a pet miniature pot-bellied pig named Bob, 20 chickens, 2 meat rabbits, 2 beehives and a white peacock named Winston. Our property and animals are a delightful source of work to keep us busy year around. The property contains vernal pools and has a beautiful grassland prairie, which I am working on getting repaired. I am most likely to be found at home outside or in my kitchen. Finally you could also find me at a medieval reenactment event with Jesse. Those are all equally likely depending on the day or what the weather is like outside.
If you were using this interview as your “digital mountaintop”, what would you scream out for all to hear?
“Those who do more are more worthy”-Geoffrey Chaucer
You must work hard for your goals but reaching further into fields that seem unreachable are the goals, which matter the most. Chaucer is a great writer from the 14th century. Much of what we think of as the age of chivalry comes from his writing.
What’s your definition of being creative?
When I think of being creative I think of my friend Katie. She is herself to the fullest with wild abandon. Doing and experiencing everything she can to the up most. Being creative is to do this with whatever is your passion, be it art, music, business, writing, sewing, metal working, or anything you can imagine.
What’s your favorite living thing? Tell us about it.
Jesse, my husband, is my favorite living thing. I know it is cliché but he is a one of my biggest inspirations. He also jumps in with both feet to all new experiences and adventures I propose we take, making a lot of adventures that would be hard on my own possible because I have him there.
How can we collectively or individually make a difference for our planet?
Making a difference on the planet can be as big as leading environmental initiatives or can be as small as choosing to walk to work and buy food which was responsibly grown. To make a difference with the planet it is important to take all the steps you can, but take the ones you can sustain. Helping the planet is about long-term goals. SO if you can recycle or walk to work or make a choice you can continue from this day forward that is the step for you.
What are some programs that the Metro Parks system offers that you wish more people knew about?
We have a ton of great programs here at Metro Parks. Our website (metroparks.net) has a list of educational programming for all age groups and all sorts of topics. Large-scale programs I wish had more attention include the bee-keeping program (hives in parks to help with the education and knowledge of the honeybee and its plight; full disclosure: this is my program) and the volunteer program. You can volunteer to help with programs, keep a trail clean, work to remove evasive plants and many other activities in Metro Parks.
When do you feel most yourself? Where are you at that time?
I feel most myself when I get to increase someone’s knowledge or love of the outdoors. This could be hanging out with my husband learning new birds or flowers and exploring a new park. This could also be at work with the public teaching a class or helping a park visitor have a better day and learn more about the park. There are many places I could be when I feel the most like myself but all of these places are outside in a natural setting.
Thank you, Jecy!!
Make sure to go check out the Metro Parks in your area! If you’re in or around Central Ohio, click here to learn more about our local parks and trails.