Producer Marsha Walton shares a firsthand look at one of the stories she worked on for season two of This American Land, at Fort Ord in California.
This American Land co-host Bruce Burkhardt with Ranger Tammy
People remember “Ranger Tammy. “
At Fort Ord National Monument in California, Tammy Jakl, a park ranger with the Bureau of Land Management, is a dynamo…constantly teaching visitors about protecting and enjoying this transformed military base.
“I am a jack of all trades,” she told us when host Bruce Burkhardt, photographer Roger Herr and I did our story on this beautiful California coastal area earlier this year.
“Pretty much my day can go: Visiting a school and doing an environmental education with ninety 8 year olds. And coming out here and seeing 98 year olds hiking, and maybe they need some water, or a ride back to their car,” she said.
During the time we spent with her, she answered logistics questions for extreme athletes at Fort Ord’s first ROGAINE event. (And no, it has nothing to do with hair! The event known as “Get Lost!! in Fort Ord” is a hiking and biking event. ROGAINE stands for “Rugged Outdoor Group Activity Involving Navigation and Endurance.”) Among many, many other duties, she looks for lost dogs, empties trash, repairs fences, writes grants so she can do more school programs… you name it!
“Being a ranger, part of my job is trying to get people excited about the outdoors,” she said. “To me, if they don’t have a reason to care, they won’t. And so through recreation and the habitat preservation, we get a large audience that way,” she said.
And it pays off, especially with the kids who learn about wildlife, plants, and preservation.
“When you teach a 6 year old something, they go home and say, ‘Daddy, Ranger Tammy says we need to stay on the trail, otherwise we could step on some endangered plants and they may not come back and then they’ll never be there again,’ Making sure kids understand why we are doing what we are doing, sometimes it is a little easier. If you grow up knowing that’s the right way to do it, it’s a habit,” she said.
If you’re visiting the California coast, perhaps checking out the Monterey Bay Aquarium, plan to spend a day at the Fort Ord National Monument. It’s just an amazing transformation that local residents and the military made after this iconic training facility was shuttered in the mid 1990s. For hikers and mountain bikers, it’s just a treasure!
Meet Ranger Tammy in episode 202 of This American Land!