Dana Dierkes, current public affairs specialist and chief of the Communications and Outreach branch of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, will be leaving to assume new duties in Washington, D.C. Dana has worked at Sequoia-Kings Canyon since June 2010.
Dana’s last day will be in mid-September. She will begin her new job as chief of Interpretation, Education and Outreach at Rock Creek Park on Sunday, Sept. 18.
Dana began her career with the National Park Service in 1990 as a seasonal park interpretive ranger. In the past 26 years, she has worked at Prince William Forest Park (Va.), Coronado National Memorial (Ariz.), Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (Ariz.), Office of Ranger Activities and the Office of Public Affairs (Washington, D.C.), Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (Calif.), George Washington Memorial Parkway (Va.). as well as her six years at Sequoia-Kings Canyon.
“The giant sequoias, mountains, and foothills of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks captured my heart on a trip here in 2001,” said Dana. “At that time, my husband and I said, ‘What do you think? Could we work here?’ The answer was a resounding, ‘Yes!’”
“The original plan was for my husband and I to move here together,” she continued. “Unfortunately, job opportunities in my husband’s line of work didn’t work out that way.”
Rock Creek Park is an urban oasis that comprises more than 2,000 acres. Interestingly, it was created at the same time as Sequoia National Park, in September 1890.
There are pedestrian and equestrian trails, historic features, gardens, a large amphitheater, planetarium, picnic areas, nature center, tennis center, and golf course, and the park borders the Smithsonian National Zoo. It provides undeveloped open space with streams, woodland, and meadows that benefits area wildlife and serves as an escape for those residing in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
“Leaving here for a new position is bittersweet,” said Dana. “I have loved my job. I will miss these parks, park staff, community members, and lots of news media, tourism, and park partners that I have worked with over the past six years.”
With her move, Dana becomes reunited with her husband, whom she has had a long-distance relationship with since her transfer to the West Coast, and will return to live in the same home they had when she left. Her husband, Jim Culver, is an investigator with the U.S. Park Police in Washington, D.C.
“As I like to say, ‘Happy trails! Until our paths cross again…’” she concluded.