Book about survival is jumping off point for forest ranger recruitment

Recruiting forest rangers
Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 6:00 AM EST
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In this week’s Ag Weekly, Emily Griffin talks with local forest rangers about tracking down more workers.

LOWVILLE, New York (WWNY) - “You see the helicopter here, you can see the hook come down, and then you get pulled into the helicopter by a winch,” Forest Ranger Lincoln Hanno told Lowville Academy students during a recent visit.

Hanno and Jacob Maxwell are forest rangers with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. They were at Lowville Academy to talk about wilderness preparedness just as the students were finishing up a book that relates to that.

“‘Into the Wild’ is about a kid who was well off and wanted to live off the land,” Hanno said. “He didn’t end up taking the proper steps to keep himself safe and ended up perishing.”

But the bigger story is beyond these pages. They’re hoping to spark an interest in the profession.

“We’re always trying to increase the number of rangers,” Hanno said. “The state’s always increasing its land and we need more and more personnel to make sure it’s preserved and maintained.”

There are currently fewer than 150 rangers across the state, so presentations like Hanno and Maxwell’s could be the future for our environment.

“Oh, I love my job,” Hanno said. “It makes it a lot more rewarding, especially when I’m helping people.”

If being a ranger is something you’d consider, the first step is reaching out to the DEC for a ride-along, and then looking into the education requirements.