Park Ranger Austin Brooks
Park Service Profiles
Austin Brooks joins us this month as the Park Service Profile. He is Park Ranger II at Sadlers Creek State Park. After spending most of his childhood in Staten Island, New York, Brooks moved to Highlands, North Carolina where he graduated from high school and went on to earn a degree in Environmental Science from Western Carolina University.
Brooks says he has been preparing for a job in the park service his whole life. His love of the outdoors, combined with his degree and the skills learned from working odd jobs growing up equipped Brooks with many of the traits needed to become a great park ranger! He started his career as an assistant ranger at Hampton Plantation State Historic Site, and moved up to become a ranger at Rivers Bridge State Historic Site. After a year and a half at his second park, Brooks moved on to the position of Park Ranger II at Sadlers Creek State Park.
As Ranger II at Sadlers Creek, Brooks tries to do a little of everything. He has helped with remodeling bathrooms, cleaning fire pits, cutting trees and even doing paperwork and taking reservations. We always ask rangers what they feel is the most rewarding part of their job. Brooks says: “when you’re doing your last patrol on your seventh straight day and you see a bunch of kids playing in the lake, their parents sitting by a campfire. To be able to say you had a part in being able to provide people with memories they’ll remember for the rest of their lives is easily the most rewarding part of the job.”
We also make a point to ask the rangers to tell us about their funniest moment on the job. While he may be a fairly young ranger, Brooks has a pretty great story already! “Another ranger and I were digging up a septic tank and trying to find where the tank started and ended at Barnwell State Park. After about 15 minutes of digging the other ranger and I almost ended up down in the tank when one of the lids broke beneath us. I believe they probably heard us at the top of Table Rock when we screamed!”
Brooks quoted an old Greek proverb when asked to sum up his job: “’A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.’” Brooks elaborates: “A lot of the projects we do on the park do not have instant gratification. It takes years and years for the impact and reward to be seen, so to be a part of something that future generations will appreciate long after your career is over is really something special.”
Thank you, Ranger Austin, for all you do!