For my Environmental Policy thesis, I investigated female forest rangers in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). I looked at how their introduction into the forest service has evolved since the first female forest ranger in New York State, Patti Rudge, who took the job in 1988. I looked at common trends between retired and current female forest rangers as well as comparing their experiences to studies done about park rangers in the National Park Service. I found many similarities between their experiences, however there are key differences between federal and state level agencies.
Through my research I was able to gain a perspective from female forest rangers of how the New York State DEC could be more inclusive, as well as what to be done to improve their relationship with the public. I also found that gender stereotypes are still a significant issue for female forest rangers. A solution to this, though not an easy one, is to push equality of educational opportunities at a young age to break gender stereotypes associated with the outdoors. This might break the stigmatization that women are not as capable of doing the forest ranger job as men are for the next generation.