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“There are challenging moments with budgets and what we do if we don’t have enough money to do things we feel are important,” she explained. “Also dealing with the general public can be challenging. It’s my job to make sure someone gets the answers they want … and it may not be the answer the person wants to hear, but being open and honest with the public is very important.” Interacting with the public is also one of her favorite aspects of her job. “I love it when school groups come in,” she said. “The kids are little sponges that absorb the knowledge and are so enthusiastic.” She finds that when speaking with adults, she has to clarify that she doesn’t work with the National Park Service. “Because we are such a big agency that does so many different things, there is a disconnect between a park ranger and the fact that we actually work for the army,” she said. “If I can see something click with a person — like now they understand — there’s a lot of gratification in that for me.” Living On The Outside Daily Life While most would think of a park ranger as somebody who spends their days traipsing through the wilderness, Zeutenhorst spends much of her time in her office or answering campers’ questions during the warmer months. When she does go out to the parks, she can be seen patrolling the recreation areas or helping with habitat restoration in the wildlife areas. She said any real difficulties with her job come from working with the federal government or irate campers. When not in the office or out in the parks, Zeutenhorst prefers to tend to her grass acreage on her tractor, mowing her yard, taking photos of nature and caring for her dogs and cats. She also enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and greatgrandchild, which fulfills her purpose of moving back to the area all those years ago. “You can move away from places, but home is wherever your heart is, and my heart has always been in the Great Plains and upper Midwest,” she said. n HERVOICEvMAY/JUNE 2018v21

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