Interpretive Ranger Elizabeth Laney
Park Service Profiles
Park Interpreter Elizabeth Laney grew up in the South Carolina lowcountry, and has pictures as a child at Charles Towne Landing to prove it! Little did she know back then the fun had in the parks as a child would lead to a career. Laney earned degrees in Anthropology and History from Appalachian State University and a MA in Museum Studies from George Washington University. She began her parks career as a part-time educational helper and archaeologist at Charles Towne Landing. After that, she worked with the National Park Service as an interpretive ranger at Frederick Douglass National Historic Site. Laney returned to South Carolina State Parks to take on her current position as Park Interpreter at Redcliffe Plantation State Historic Site.
At Redcliffe Plantation, Laney gives guided tours of the park’s historic buildings, guides school field trips, and also conducts historic and genealogical research of the site's former inhabitants. We asked Laney to tell us about the funniest thing that has happened in her career, and she had quite a unique story! Laney said: “Well, I often try to bring random bits of history into my tours. After talking about the African origins of the word ‘goober’ (peanut) on a tour with a couple from Michigan, I came into the office to find that the couple had mailed me a jar of Smucker's Goober Grape Jelly - a peanut butter/jelly mix. I loved it!” And the hardest thing she deals with? “As an interpreter at a site where people were enslaved, it is often either challenging or emotionally draining to tell the stories that need to be told and to help people connect to topics that are not exactly standard ‘vacation’ material. It’s all about making a human connection between people in the past and people in the present,” Laney told us.
Laney says she would “encourage anyone who loves working outside, who enjoys speaking to people from all over the world, who loves history or nature to pick up the hat and become a park ranger.” We are so glad you chose to pick up the hat, Interpreter Laney! Thank you for all that you do!