As a little girl, actress Betty White dreamed of becoming one. Gary Locke, U.S. ambassador to China, also shared this childhood dream.
What makes Jana Desrocher different is that she is living this dream.
Since May, Desrocher of Hemet, Calif. has been doing many of the duties of a forest ranger on the San Bernardino National Forest. In fact, she loves it so much that she does it for free. Desrocher is a volunteer ranger.
Many people may not realize the volunteer opportunities available on national forests. Desrocher is one of about 75 members of the Forest Service Volunteer Association which assists the U.S. Forest Service in protecting and preserving the San Bernardino National Forest.
On any given day, Desrocher patrols trails, assists visiting hikers and saws fallen trees that may be blocking trails. As a volunteer wilderness ranger, she is part of the team that acts as the eyes and ears of the Forest Service that may even occasionally involve overnight stays on the forest. Constructing trails, surveying wildlife with Forest Service scientists and working at visitor centers as the true face of the forest are just some of the duties this team of nature enthusiasts does in its spare time.
In order to qualify to become a volunteer ranger, Desrocher trekked arduous eight-hour hikes five times. Other qualifications include a six-hour orientation class and spending one full day at the ranger station front desk. Since May, she has logged over 300 hours.
Volunteer opportunities are not limited to just wilderness rangers. Other opportunities include volunteering as an equestrian ranger and working as a ranger station volunteer.