Kelsey Johnson- Our Fearless Leader

What is there to say about Kelsey Johnson? We doubt it is even possible to fit her entire personality into a single biography, but we will try to give you a glance into the life of Kelsey. Kelsey is currently a parkKelsey ranger at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, but more importantly, she is one of the founders of In My Backyard as well as our (the interns’) supervisor. Kelsey has worked for the National Park Service for more than a decade at many parks including Olympic National Park, Oregon Caves National Monument and Mesa Verde National Park. She got her start through the a NPS student program and was stationed at San Juan Island National Historical Park. While there, she worked for the park service as a writer and, consequently, realized that she did not want to be a journalist despite her undergraduate degree in the subject (she later received her Master of Science in Resource Management). When asked why she remained with the park service, Kelsey replied that when working with the National Park Service you get to, “travel to some of the most beautiful locations in America and the world.”

Kelsey’s love of nature has been present since a young age. For example, as a child, she was upset that the trees did not have moms to give them baths. Naturally, her mom encouraged her to wash the trees, so Kelsey went out to her backyard with a little red ice chest filled with soapy water and did just that. Seeing the photos of this event can make anyone think, “No wonder she is a park ranger.”

Out of all the types of salmon, Kelsey most identifies with Coho salmon because they are playful and “dance on top of the water.” Her favorite spice is (without hesitation) cinnamon. If she didn’t become a park ranger she would want to be a photojournalist for National Geographic. Her favorite book is Enemy Women and her favorite element is fire. She is a guardian of trees and she describes her greatest strength as being capable and adaptable.

Everything written above this sentence is information we received from Kelsey during an interview. However, there is much more to Kelsey than her professional life and favorite spice. One of the most important traits Kelsey possesses is her ability to care. She truly cares about the park service, urban youth’s involvement in the parks, and our In My Backyard project. Even more importantly, she really cares about our team, our professional goals and how we feel. She has been a constant support during the project and most likely one of the greatest supervisors in all history.

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