Staff Spotlight, Karen Strawn

Karen Strawn smiling at the camera.

Park Ranger, Karen Strawn

Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park

Karen Strawn is originally from Riverside, California and relocated to Florida in the 1980s. She found her love for the outdoors in her late 20s while spending time hiking and traveling throughout the United States. She visited many state and national parks and saw all the amazing sights and surprises that each had to offer along the way.

Wanting the pursue this passion, she researched programs that would allow her to expand her knowledge of state parks and become a park ranger. She found that volunteering would provide her the most opportunity, eventually becoming a member of AmeriCorps and working at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park. Here she spent two years fighting to expel all non-native invasive plants from the park. What drew her to this park was the fact that although she was in the middle of a busy city, she felt like she was miles away from everything. She truly feels like she is home.

Karen is now a park ranger and has a vast knowledge about the plants in the park. She has extensive experience with visitor interpretation and enjoys sharing her knowledge with guests. She also serves as the safety coordinator at the park, making sure that visitors and staff alike are safe. Karen has also spearheaded many of the trail improvements in the park. Among her accomplishments, she helped establish three new hiking trails at Werner-Boyce, giving visitors the opportunity to view previously inaccessible ecosystems. You can most often catch Karen on the trails, doing her best to keep the park clean and presentable, or assisting a guest in whatever way she can.

What Karen loves most about the outdoors is the never-ending peacefulness and the beauty that comes with it. She loves working outdoors in nature and enjoys having the ability to explore something new each day. Her favorite part of her position is her ability to get involved in any and every way she can, always jumping at the opportunity to help others expand their knowledge of Florida’s native flora and fauna. She loves that the park is constantly growing, from its new trails to new interpretive displays. She loves being a part of all these positive changes and hopes to pass her love of the outdoors onto future generations.

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