Daniel Boyce is a firm believer in the importance of the nation’s park system. He has dedicated his life and career to protecting them and the people that visit these cherished locations year after year.
“The importance of national parks lies in the sites themselves. They are icons, they are historical, foundational pieces of the country and these locations are completely irreplaceable,” said Boyce, a Temple University Criminal Justice graduating senior who is also completing the ProRanger Philadelphia program, a partnership between Temple University and the National Park Service to train law enforcement rangers. “I’ve always wanted to be involved in the emergency services field — I was dialed in on police, fire and EMS. With a Criminal Justice degree and my experiences with the ProRanger program I know I have the capabilities to be involved in all aspects of the field while helping to preserve the country’s national treasures.”
The ProRanger Philadelphia program is offered through Temple’s University College. University College also offers the Park Ranger Law Enforcement Academy (PRLEA) in partnership with Criminal Justice Training Programs (CJTP) at Temple University Ambler, a key component of ProRanger Philadelphia.
A transfer student from Brookdale Community College where he earned his associate’s degree in Criminal Justice, Boyce said the transition to Temple was smooth academically — almost all of his credits from Brookdale transferred to Temple — while discovering the ProRanger program provided welcome social connections.
“The transition — finding a new friend group — was initially a little tough socially. Being a ProRanger was a big help and getting involved in clubs; I joined Adventure Bound, an outdoors club at Temple, which helped me get out with friends and explore,” he said. “It’s been a great experience living in North Philadelphia while learning to be a park ranger. That’s a diverse set of experiences, which is what’s available for students at Temple.”
The Park Ranger Law Enforcement Academy, Boyce said, is a full-time, 19-week program held at Temple Ambler, “which is the culmination of the ProRanger Program — Temple Ambler provides a valuable, realistic training environment for us to practice what we are learning.”
According to Criminal Justice Training Programs, the academy consists of more than 700 hours of professional instruction designed to prepare and enable students to obtain employment with the National Park Service as a seasonal law enforcement ranger.
“The academy is your last step before going out into the real world and becoming a ranger. I think our program is unique in that you can leave it completely ready to join the National Park Service as a law enforcement ranger,” said Boyce. “Being a law enforcement ranger presents unique challenges — every park offers a different set of circumstances. As a ranger, you develop a comprehensive set of skills — law enforcement, medial response, fire safety, education — that ensures that you are capable of serving the public.”
After graduation, Boyce will be doing just that having accepted a position at Colonial National Historical Park in York County, Virginia, which includes the site of the Jamestown Colony, the first permanent English settlement in North America; the Yorktown Battlefield, site of the last major battle in the American Revolution; and the scenic, 23-mile Colonial Parkway.
“My criminal justice degree in combination with the ProRanger program has helped me gain the knowledge I’ll need about effective policing and policing today. I’ve also gained an understanding of how law enforcement within the national park service differs from other places,” he said. “With law enforcement in the National Park Service, there’s a sense of stewardship — everything you are protecting has archeological or historical value. You are out there and you might be the only face that the visitor will see. There’s a lot of pride that goes into what you are protecting and a sense of responsibility to the parks’ visitors and the environment.”
Everyone has the capacity to realize their dreams and affect positive change on the world in ways both large and small, said Boyce. It all makes a difference.
“Perseverance conquers. No matter what field you’re pursuing, it might seem like a long road ahead,” he said. “It’s going to take a lot of work, but it’s worth it. Make good choices now. Do something to stand out in a positive way and enjoy the trail ahead.”