Megan Brazel isn’t a school teacher, but when she goes to work every day she teaches people from around the world the importance of protecting the natural environment.
The University of Mobile 2010 graduate is a park ranger for the National Park Service at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Megan has worked in all three districts of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, as well as three lighthouses within the Seashore. She is also certified for wildland firefighting.
“Every day I educate the public on why protecting the natural environment, as well as our history, is important,” said Megan. “I help people see the world around them in a different light so that they may see why these things are worth saving.”
Megan said it is not unusual to hear someone calling “Ranger! Ranger!” For Megan it is a “welcome sound,” because it is usually a cry from a young person who wants to learn more about something they have discovered at the National Seashore.
She attributes her success to her professors and University of Mobile, where she majored in history and English.
“I was always encouraged by my professors,” said Megan, who still keeps in touch with them. “It is nice to go to a university that really cares about the success of its students.”
University of Mobile, she said, helped her achieve her dream to be a park ranger, which is a very competitive job.
She applied for almost 300 different positions before she was hired, then budget cuts resulted in a layoff. She spent two years re-applying and was eventually hired for the job she currently holds.
“It has been a challenging journey to get where I am today,” said Megan, who never gave up on the job she always wanted. “Even when I thought I would never get to achieve my goal of becoming a park ranger, I still did not quit.”
Among her personal accomplishments are cycling more than 2,000 miles along the Outer Banks of North Carolina; reeling in her first shark, a black-tip caught on the beaches of Cape Hatteras; observing humpback whales migrating through the Atlantic from the beaches of Nags Head; and climbing to the summit of Mt. LeConte in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a 13.5 mile trip, in 3 hours and 15 minutes.
This summer, she started a new assignment at Elkmont Campground in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. In her spare time Megan is an avid kayaker, backpacker, cyclist and fisherwoman who is currently learning to surf.