Emily Jones is a Park Ranger with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

by Billy Chandler

If you didn’t know the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operated public park space with interpretive rangers, hiking, boating, camping, fishing, birding, and more, you’re not alone.

Emily Jones knows all about this, because she is serving as one of those energetic and full-of-knowledge interpreters. She’s an outreach park ranger for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), so she’s in charge of all the educational programming facilitated by park staff and volunteers. As the outreach ranger she also oversees social media for her park, John H. Kerr Reservoir (aka Bugg’s Island Lake). She is the point of contact for Kerr Reservoir’s partnership program and assists with the volunteer program. Emily also heads up the water safety program for a reservoir that welcomes more than 4 million visitors annually. The property at John H. Kerr encompasses seven North Carolina State Parks, two Virginia State Parks, four Corps managed Campgrounds, many boat ramps and day use areas, and 50,000 acres of land in addition to the reservoir.

Emily was an environmental studies major at Emory & Henry, and she finished a master’s degree in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development at American University, doing a year of that degree work at one of American’s partner institutions, University for Peace in Costa Rica. “Instead of a thesis, I did a practicum focused on the pineapple industry in Costa Rica and worked with a community to study the impacts of that industry on the people who work at the plantations, the people who live in the community around the plantations, and the natural environment.”

As an E&H student, Emily did an honor’s project her senior year that encouraged local environmental groups to do education programs that educated across generations. She points out that there is established pedagogy that highlights the value of learning in a community of varied ages – but we tend to be siloed and only learn with people our own age. That final year at Emory & Henry she worked with groups like Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists and Upper Tennessee River Roundtable to start some intergenerational education programs – some of which are still in place today.

Emily says in addition to all the great environmental information she gleaned in college, she also took to heart another lesson from her student days: the power of the ampersand. She says being able to say “Yes, and…” instead of “Yes, but…” is a powerful tool in every aspect of her work.

She also appreciates that Emory & Henry never caved into the impulse to simplify problems. “We live in a world that wants to simplify things…but we live in a complex world. I was taught not to shy away from the complexities.”

Get an insight into the busy world of Emily Jones, and find out more about her enthusiastic work as an environmental educator in an interview on the Duck Pond Wall podcast.

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/2641-community-members-invited-for-chatsconnecting"><picture class="lw_image"><source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/183,68,1188,1072/12768_chats_logo.rev.1669823423.webp 2x" data-origin="responsive"/><source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/183,68,1188,1072/12768_chats_logo.rev.1669823423.jpg 2x" data-origin="responsive"/><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/183,68,1188,1072/12768_chats_logo.rev.1669823423.jpg" alt="Flier for the second session of C.H.A.T.S." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/183,68,1188,1072/12768_chats_logo.rev.1669823423.jpg 2x" data-max-w="1005" data-max-h="1004" loading="lazy" data-optimized="true"/></picture></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/2641-community-members-invited-for-chatsconnecting">Community Members Invited for C.H.A.T.S.(Connecting Humans and Telling Stories)</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> “The most important thing for me is perception. Not a change of heart. We just hope for a more open thought process about how we interact with the world.” <a href="/live/news/2641-community-members-invited-for-chatsconnecting" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1079-mark-arrington-honored-for-innovative-teaching"><picture class="lw_image"><source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,324,278/7177_arrington_2.rev.1574356083.webp 1x" data-origin="responsive"/><source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,324,278/7177_arrington_2.rev.1574356083.jpg 1x" data-origin="responsive"/><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,324,278/7177_arrington_2.rev.1574356083.jpg" alt="Mark Arrington, E&H Class of 2002." width="345" height="225" data-max-w="324" data-max-h="278" loading="lazy" data-optimized="true"/></picture></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1079-mark-arrington-honored-for-innovative-teaching">Mark Arrington Honored for Innovative Teaching</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Mark was honored by VAHPERD as their 2019 Teacher of the Year. <a href="/live/news/1079-mark-arrington-honored-for-innovative-teaching" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>