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TPWD Hosts Career Exploration Event for Students

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Representatives from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Division presented Grapeland High School students with various career paths available with the TPWD at Angelina College’s Crockett campus on Friday, April 21. Photo by Cody Thompson / Messenger.

By Cody Thompson

Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT – Grapeland High School students were treated to a presentation about the various career opportunities with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Division at Angelina College’s Crockett campus on Friday, April 21.

Two representatives of the TPWD’s State Park Division, Josh Crawford and Dawn Gilbert, were in attendance to provide students with details about the types of jobs that can be found at the TPWD and to answer any questions brought up by the students.

“There are a lot of different job opportunities that we (TPWD) offer that most people aren’t familiar with,” Gilbert told the Messenger. “Most people, for the most part, think we’re all just park rangers or game wardens, but there’s so much more that TPWD offers.”

Some of the job categories presented include, but are not limited to, communications and media, coastal fisheries and executive office jobs.

“There are several different job outlets at the TPWD and all of them lead to a variety of different career paths,” Gilbert said. “I started out as a fill-in clerk in high school and college and worked my way up to an office manager position.”

The two representatives also presented the students with ideas about college majors that would assist those wanting to pursue a career at the TPWD.

“There’s not a ‘one size fits all’ major for getting a job at the TPWD, but a degree in forestry, wildlife management or biology will definitely help you stand out against the competition,” Crawford told the students.

Crawford also presented his personal career testimony to the students.

After graduating from high school, Crawford graduated with a degree in marketing from Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches and worked for a marketing agency for approximately 18 years, before returning to SFA to acquire a second degree in forestry science.

“I really wish that someone had given me a presentation like this one when I was in high school,” Crawford told the students. “If they had, I probably would have never gone into marketing and I could have been doing a job, this job, that I love, a lot sooner.”

After acquiring his second degree, Crawford became an intern with the TPWD at the age of 38.

“I want to give these kids the chance to find something they’ll be happy with for the rest of their lives,” Crawford said. “I don’t want them to be like me: 38-years-old and competing with college kids for an internship.”

The TPWD wants to start inviting a different school in the Houston County area each month for a career exploration presentation at Angelina College in Crockett, Crawford said.

“It would probable be easier to try to get them all or as many schools here at once for a big presentation, but I prefer doing it with one school at a time,” Crawford said. “That allows for smaller groups and everyone can get more out of it.” 

Crawford gave an invitation to everyone in the community to come to the 12th annual Folk Festival at Mission Tejas State Park in Grapeland on Saturday, April 29.

The Mission Tejas Folk Festival gives patrons a glimpse of how early Texas settlers lived.

The festival features presenters in period-accurate costumes that demonstrate many facets of early settlers, including blacksmithing, flint knapping and quilting.

To learn more about the TPWD or to find job opportunities with the TPWD, visit www.tpwd.gov.