Retired teacher finds success as park ranger

After 44 years as a teacher, Kim Pitsch is enjoying her second career as a park ranger for Allegan County. She is the county’s only year-round ranger.

She began as an entrance gate attendant before she was promoted to park ranger. The role keeps her busy handling check-ins and checkouts, collecting trash, and cleaning restrooms.

It’s a job that keeps her on feet. She usually logs 12,000 steps a day.

An alternative ed teacher for 44 years in Kent County, Pitsch credits her teaching background for helping with one part of the job. 

“Rangers need to know a lot about nature and ecosystems,” Pitsch says. “People are always asking me to identify a tree or a flower or something like that. And it's very helpful to people if you know your area very well.”

Her expertise comes from years volunteering with the Boy Scouts.

She moved to Allegan County in 2005,  where she lives next door to her sister.

Selected as a top frontline worker

Pitsch doesn’t have plans to retire. 

“The majority of people that work in the parks for the county are senior citizens, and we're all in good shape because we work a lot,” Pitsch says.

Kim Pitsch gets in more than 12,000 steps a day as a park ranger.

She was honored earlier this year as one of the region’s top 10 frontline workers by West Michigan Works!

She was surprised by the honor because she had no idea her boss had nominated her.

Pitsch’s boss gives her high marks.

“Kim has never missed a day of work,” says Brandy Gildea, parks manager for Allegan County Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. 

“She goes above and beyond to ensure that the parks are clean and safe and users are happy. She contributes not just through her position here at the county but also through participating on her township boards and volunteering with Boy Scouts and other groups.”

Photos courtesy of West Michigan Works!
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