Michael Aaron Piñate is a park ranger at The Barnacle Historic State Park in Coconut Grove.
In which branch of the armed forces do you serve?
U.S. Army Reserves.
Briefly describe your job in the military. Include the number of years you have served.
I’m a 68W combat medic, which is the equivalent of a trauma-level paramedic. I’ve been in the military for nearly two years, come February. I am at the rank of Specialist (E-4).
Which bureau, office, park or trail do you work for now?
The Barnacle Historic State Park.
Describe your job in the park service. What are your favorite parts of your job?
I am a park ranger, specifically tasked with invasive/exotic flora removal and managing the first aid inventory. As far as my favorite areas of the job, I would have to say the variety and versatility of my tasks, as well as the autonomy.
How did your service in the military prepare you for working for the Florida Park Service?
I enlisted while I was already working at The Barnacle Historic State Park; however, my time in the military enables me to be an even greater asset to the park, such as being a first responder in the event of an emergency, as well as bolstering my already professional work ethic.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in the Florida Park Service?
I would advise them to earn their degrees in order to access the plethora of opportunities available, both leadership roles and education/ training support.