Spending your working day spotting a host of wildlife from whales to elephant seals, climbing up lighthouses and teaching people about the wonders of nature must be pretty cool, right? Carlo Arreglo, interpretive park ranger at Point Reyes National Seashore in California, would definitely agree. We caught up with Carlo to hear all about how he spends his days and which animals he’s always extra happy to see…
Describe your job in five words!
Education, ranger-ing, stewardship, inclusive, inspiring!
What does your job involve?
As a park ranger, I am always out and about! What I love about this job is that the day-to-day is always totally different. One day I might be stationed at the Bear Valley visitor centre, helping people from all over the world figure out how to spend their day at Point Reyes National Seashore; the next I might be at Drakes Beach, pointing out elephant seals; and other days I might be leading a bird programme, or climbing 308 steps up the historic lighthouse built in 1870.
What animals do you often see whilst at work?
Wow, well the ones that people really want to see are the gray whales migrating past the Point Reyes Headlands, or the northern elephant seals when they haul themselves out of the water to breed, give birth and molt, or the majestic tule elk. Personally though, I have a soft spot for birds, which is lucky because Point Reyes is one of the best spots in the country for birdwatching – over half of all North American bird species have been recorded here!
What challenges do you often face as a part of your job?
Finding enough time to do everything I need to do. But on those days when the fog clears at the lighthouse and I point out whales to visitors that have never seen them, when peregrine falcons scream past a group of us, on days like that, I have to pinch myself to realise it’s not a dream that I get to work here.
How did you become a park ranger?
I started as a volunteer and then got hired as a seasonal park guide and through hard work, timing, networking and a little bit of luck, I got a permanent park ranger position here at my dream park.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a similar career to you?
Start out as a volunteer, ideally in the park you want to eventually work in. If you want to be a ranger-naturalist like me, have a curious mind driven by the need to learn many new things every day.
What’s the coolest thing about your job?
Being able to share my excitement for this protected land and seascape with everyone that visits!
Find more national park fun for budding rangers in our all-new Lonely Planet Kids title, America’s National Parks!