Interpretive Ranger Hannah Marley
Park Service Profiles
Last September Hannah Marley, a native of Southport, North Carolina, decided to end her tenure with North Carolina parks and venture into the South Carolina State Park Service as an Interpretive Ranger with Hampton Plantation State Historic Site. Ranger Marley attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she began studying biology. Halfway through her degree she realized she loved history too much not to major in that as well. So she chose to double major, graduating with a degree in both Biology and History with a focus in American History.
She vividly recalls the time in her life when she knew being a park ranger would be an awesome job saying, “I first thought about it when I visited the Grand Canyon on a school trip. I kind of annoyed the group I was travelling with because I had so many questions for the park ranger there. On the trip back, I told my biology teacher that being a park ranger must be the coolest job in the world.” Marley put that idea on hold until she realized that she could combine being a park ranger and a historian to have her ultimate dream job. Marley is not the only one who enjoys her work with Hampton Plantation State Historic Site saying, “I always joke with my family that none of them want to go to historic sites with me because they’re sick of hearing me talk about history. Working here, people come to the park specifically to talk to me about history, so I’m living the dream.”
To prepare for her current position as an Interpretive Ranger she used the knowledge she previously gained while working at plantations and historic sites to research rice cultivation and develop context for her interpretations. Some of the activities she performs on her job include researching and giving tours to park visitors, planning for special events, administration paperwork, trash pickup and planting milkweed. Marley says one of the hardest things about working at Hampton Plantation State Historic Site is some of the difficult conversations she has with visitors during interpretations. She finds that although sometimes the topics may be a little difficult, they are important to history and through her interpretations, guests leave with an enriching educational experience.
Throughout all her memories working at parks, Ranger Marley says her funniest moment was during a park program with a group of school kids. The kids were having some trouble focusing throughout the program until one of the kids noticed her Captain America key chain. Once word spread, the kids immediately became attentive and she was deemed a trustworthy authority figure. Needless to say, the rest of the program went smoothly. When asked to sum up her job in three words, Marley replied back passion, dedication and of course, bug spray! Ranger Marley, we are grateful to have you as a member of the South Carolina State Park Service and we thank you for all the hard work you do!