A previous group of Texas State Parks ambassadors on a group hiking trip, which is part of the training program available. Inks Lake State Park is one of 15 Central and West Texas state parks looking for volunteers between the ages of 18 and 30 for the six-month long class of 2022. Photo courtesy of TPWD
Inks Lake State Park is on a list of 15 parks reinstating the Texas State Parks Ambassador Program after a two-year hiatus. The program, which relaunches in early 2022, is now accepting ambassador applications through Jan. 26. Applications must be submitted online. The six-month term for new Ambassadors begins April 1 and runs through Oct. 1.
Texas State Parks ambassadors are a diverse group of conservation-minded young adult volunteers between the ages of 18 and 30 who are paired with a state park.
“Connecting young and diverse audiences with service and recreation opportunities in our state parks is more crucial now than ever,” said Samantha Toback, Texas State Park Ambassador Program coordinator. “It is especially important considering the recent substantial increase in visitation to our state parks and the approaching centennial of Texas State Parks in 2023.”
The top candidates will be selected for an interview, after which the final group is chosen. They will be required to attend Ambassador Leadership Training before beginning their six-month ambassadorship. During that time, ambassadors will complete 40 hours of hands-on service, community outreach, and social media projects for their parks.
The five-day Ambassador Leadership Training for the new cohort of Central and West Texas ambassadors will take place in March 2022. During the training, new ambassadors will be introduced to park interpretation and outdoor education programming such as Project Wild, provided tips on how to be a successful ambassador, and participate in activities such as kayaking, backpacking, mountain biking, and more.
Previous outdoor experience and a desire for a career in natural resources is not required.
“Going into the ambassador program, I had no idea how much it would change my outlook on life or that I would end up where I am today as a result,” said Steven Simmons, former ambassador and current Park Operations trainee at Tyler State Park. “For young adults looking to gain rewarding and valuable experiences with TPWD, the ambassador program provides vast amounts of networking, support, and allows you to make lifelong friendships that help you to grow personally and professionally.”
The Texas State Parks Ambassador Program has led 27 previous ambassadors into careers with TPWD.
Those interested in applying must have a high school diploma. Applications from anyone who turned 30 in 2020 and 2021, during the program’s two-year hiatus, will also be accepted.
Learn more about the Texas State Parks Ambassador Program online and get updates about the program, as well as a glimpse into what it’s like being an ambassador, via Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
The first 15 parks involved in the program are all in Central and West Texas and include:
Big Bend Ranch State Park
Buffalo Soldiers Program
Davis Mountains State Park/Indian Lodge
Franklin Mountains State Park
Guadalupe River State Park
Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site
Inks Lake State Park
Lake Colorado City State Park
Lockhart State Park
Lost Maples State Natural Area
McKinney Falls State Park
Palmetto State Park
San Angelo State Park
South Llano River State Park
Texas Outdoor Family Program
Applications for the Panhandle and North Texas region will open in February, along with South and East Texas applications in August.