by Zoe Lance

Lauren Boross ’13 B.S. Biology and Environmental Science & Resource Management

Alumni and Park Ranger Lauren Boross

One day at Channel Islands National Park, a child on a field trip notices a sea star in a tidepool. Marveling at the creature, the child sees a photo in a textbook come to life. Observing the marine animal in its natural habitat builds an understanding of how the Pacific Ocean is home to a vast ecosystem.

For Lauren Boross, a national park ranger, watching these interactions never gets old.

“One of the most rewarding parts of my job is seeing how kids experience the park,” Boross said. “There aren’t many jobs where you can directly see or hear how your work impacts others, but I get that in this job.”

Boross (‘13, Biology and Environmental Science & Resource Management) is a supervisory park ranger and volunteer coordinator at Channel Islands National Park. She leads the visitor center team, coordinates volunteers and educational field trips, and organizes special events.

While people might think of Ranger Smith from Yogi Bear when they hear her title, Boross said there’s much more to the job — one example being the local work that park rangers do to get people excited about nature.

“We secure funding for local high schools to go out to and experience Anacapa Island,” Boross said. “Many of the students that visit the park would never have the opportunity otherwise to visit an island or a national park. Some of them return with an enhanced perspective.”
On left: Channel Islands National Park Volunteers Barbara Hilburn, Carol Kurtz,  Kelle Green with Lauren Boross at the Channel Islands Native Plant Sale in 2016.

Boross started volunteering at the park while in high school and got a job in college, cultivating her academic interests in biology and ecology. During her career, she has led Anacapa Island restoration projects for thousands of students, planned hundreds of special events and community outreach activities, and managed over 1,500 annual volunteers for the entire park.

“My favorite part of my job has been working with the volunteers,” Boross said. “I’ve been able to work with a lot of different people, and they help us do so many things behind the scenes, allowing us to fulfill the National Park Service mission.”

Boross said that her CSUCI experience as a double major was instrumental in her career development. She participated in Yellowstone and Costa Rica field work, allowing her to apply what she learned about resource management in the classroom. She took on leadership roles in the Zeta Phi Omega sorority, and was a learning assistant in a pilot program for students who wanted to become teachers.

“CSUCI is a good school to develop leadership skills,” Boross said. “Having a background in marine biology, plant biology and cellular and molecular biology gives me a deeper knowledge that helps me provide better programs to the public. Having a scientific background in writing also really helps with working on press releases and social media. I chose to study biology because I’ve always had an interest in it, and now I get to share that interest with others.”

Boross enjoys working behind the scenes to share the park’s beauty with others and contributing to the National Park Service in a leadership role, even serving on the Pacific West Region volunteer leadership team.

“People tell me that their childhood dream was to be a park ranger,” she said. “I feel really lucky to live that dream.”

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© Spring 2020 / Volume 25 / Number 1 / Biannual

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