A Place for Everyone in the National Park Service: Wise Words from Ranger Stephanie

Ranger Stephanie under a flowering Magnolia Tree at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

Meet Ranger Stephanie! Stephanie is part of the amazing team of rangers at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens who keep this beloved park well-maintained and offer their vast knowledge to all who visit. In recognition of Women’s History Month, we spoke with Stephanie about her experience as a woman in the National Park Service.

Stephanie is extremely proud to use her National Capital Parks-East NPS ranger platform to connect with a diverse network of people across the DMV area. As a queer woman, she shared how this job allows her to, “get to show other girls, other queer folks, that there’s a place for them in the National Park Service, and that they are represented here and valued here.” Stephanie elaborated on the intersection of communities that she’s had the privilege to work with, “not only [with] women, but [with] queer people in the park service, who I’ve been able to collaborate with on really great projects.” These projects include, “highlighting women’s stories, highlighting people of color’s stories, highlighting queer people’s stories, and elevating those to a more national level of exposure” through NPS. Stephanie aptly demonstrates the unifying power that comes with honoring one’s individual identity.

Kimi Gray

Furthermore, Stephanie enthusiastically recognized the pioneering female figures in Kenilworth’s local history. She commented, “Rheudine Davis did a lot of really amazing work getting the boardwalk built here at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Kimi Gray, [who did] incredible housing advocacy in the community just outside of our doors, and of course Helen Fowler, an amazing business woman here at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. We have great women’s history to tell at Kenilworth!” Stephanie also commended all the fantastic women who staff the park and acknowledged the impactful work that they currently do.

Helen Fowler

When asked about her favorite part of working at the Gardens, Stephanie mentioned how wonderful it is to work among the beautiful flowering plants or stroll along the 11-mile Anacostia River Trail during the day. At heart, she most enjoys connecting with the community members who live in the surrounding neighborhood. Stephanie looks forward to interacting with those who, “really love and care about this park, and getting to see them every day with their dogs or walking around and getting their exercise. Just having these community relationships is definitely the highlight of my experience here.”

Stephanie’s passion for the park and its history shines through, but it’s her passion for people and celebrating diversity that makes us especially grateful to work with her at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. Thank you to Stephanie and to all the NPS rangers who serve our parks!

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