Heather Coleman

Heather Coleman

Park Ranger and former Girl Scout, Heather Coleman, works at Colt Creek State Park in Lakeland, Florida.

What inspired you to work in the parks and recreation field?

As a Girl Scout, my troop always explored Florida. My favorite trip was canoeing four days on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail. We stopped in state parks, where the park rangers helped me connect with nature and Florida's history. I want to return the favor by inspiring the next generation.

Describe your job in the Florida Park Service. What are the favorite parts of your job?

As a park ranger, we do a little bit of everything, from keeping the park clean to building boardwalks to driving a tractor for trail maintenance. My favorite part is resetting the ecosystem with prescribed fire, then teaching people about it when they ask questions.

How did your participation in Girl Scouts prepare you for your career?

I learned to communicate effectively through selling cookies. I also taught younger Girl Scouts outdoor skills, which I teach to visitors on guided hikes. I learned how important teamwork is in my troop and workplace. Most importantly, I was taught that I could do anything I put my mind to.

What advice would you offer to young women who want to pursue a career in parks and recreation?

I suggest you start now by volunteering in your local parks and getting to know the State Park family. Look into programs like AmeriCorps as you get older. Always keep a positive attitude. One day you too can trade one uniform for the next and be a park ranger.