Each year, the East Bay Regional Park District hires more than 400 young people to work in parks, offices and visitor centers.
Opportunities include: summer and academic internships working in administration, public safety, operations, finance, planning, stewardship, and other divisions; lifeguards to work at the District’s 11 pools and lakes; gate attendants; recreation leaders who serve as camp counselors; laborers; field interns; public safety and interpretive aides.
<p>Most positions are paid, and include benefits and opportunities for career advancement. Many student workers have gone on to lifelong careers with the Park District – including General Manager Robert Doyle.
Taylor Lee, a freshman at UC Berkeley who serves as an intern in public affairs, said his experience with the Park District has made him consider changing careers from business to public service.
“Working in public affairs, I’ve been able to learn about everything from cattle grazing to policy to GIS. It’s made me realize how important our work is to the public,” Lee said. “Instead of selling something, we’re doing something that benefits people. I’m very proud of who I work for.”
Lee has compiled a comprehensive guide to disabled services and accessibility within the Park District, researched and written brochures on the health benefits of being outdoors for use by doctors, nurses and patients at Children’s Hospital Oakland.
Sarah Erspamer, a recent graduate of Cal State East Bay, is working as a field intern specializing in conservation projects. Among her duties are monitoring the western pond turtle, snowy plover, bald eagle, and other threatened or endangered species that live in the parks – making sure they’re safe from predators and people, and can successfully nest and reproduce.
“It’s inspiring to see so many people with a common goal working together,” said Erspamer, who hopes to pursue a career as a conservation biologist. “I’m learning a lot about the structure of the district – how everyone works together to save the environment. I’ve learned that even by saving one plant, we can save 10 different species.”
Dan Wan, a U.S. Army sergeant who fought in Iraq in 2003-04, earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Cal State Stanislaus and was planning to become a police officer – until he got an internship with the Park District.
As a field intern, Wan built fences, cared for park landscaping, repaired buildings, worked on irrigation plumbing and was a welcoming face for park visitors. He worked at parks in Briones, Pt. Pinole and Martinez.
In July of last year, he was hired full-time as a park ranger at Martinez Shoreline Regional Park.
“I’m learning so much,” said Wan, who’s still in the Army reserves. “Now I can go home at night and talk to my daughter about nature. She loves that.”
For more information and current job listings, go to www.ebparks.org/jobs or call (510) 544-2154.