When Temple University alumnus Moe Greene discovered the ProRanger Philadelphia program while completing his undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice it was a true bit of serendipity.
“To be honest I’d say I lucked into it. A professor of mine in the Criminal Justice program had heard about it and referred me to the program. At that time, it had never even occurred to me that I could work for the National Park Service,” said Greene, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology in 2012. “I grew up in Philadelphia; my knowledge of the Park Service didn’t go much beyond being aware of places like Yosemite and Yellowstone.”
Greene said he sat down with Anthony Luongo, Director of Temple’s Criminal Justice Training Programs and Associate Director of the ProRanger Philadelphia Program, who provided details about the program requirements.
The ProRanger program, a partnership between Temple University and the National Park Service to train law enforcement rangers, 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.
“I thought it was an excellent opportunity to expand my horizons and I took full advantage of it. Initially it wasn’t an easy experience — it was all very new to me and I was definitely a fish out of water,” Greene said. “It was during the ProRanger Leadership Training Camp that I began to make the transition from uncertainty to realizing that this was right career path for me. Getting that outdoor experience and the camaraderie that developed between current students and ProRanger alumni was invaluable.”
It was an experience that stuck with Greene as he completed all ProRanger requirements, which included an internship studying all aspects of the National Park Service at Gettysburg National Military Park and completing PRLEA training all while finishing up his degree. After seven years as a law enforcement ranger at the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Greene has returned to Temple Ambler to help train the current group of students completing their ProRanger experience.
“I received a call from Adrian Fernandez (Supervisory Park Ranger and ProRanger Program Manager) who told me there was an opportunity to lead Temple’s ProRanger program. Of course I didn’t hesitate — this is the program that helped me get to where I am now,” said Greene, who will serve as Acting ProRanger Program Manager through January 2020. “What I want to instill in the current students is the unique opportunities that this program provides them — I want them to take full advantage of it! I want them to fully understand the importance of their role in the National Park Service — they will be helping to protect and preserve some of the nation’s most valuable resources — and what the Park Service has to offer.”
Having an alumnus training current ProRanger students “is a tremendous asset for the program,” said Dr. Vicki Lewis McGarvey, Vice Provost for University College.
“Moe has been through all of the training, all of the experiences that our current students are undertaking now. He’s able to give them honest insight into what to expect from the profession,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for the students to ask questions that they might not otherwise ask during training. With an alumnus, the students are able to see the final product; to sit down, talk and discover what a career as a park ranger can and will be.”
Temple University Ambler is one of only seven institutions in the country to offer the Park Ranger Law Enforcement Academy while Temple is the only site to offer the ProRanger program. In addition to coursework, students complete two summer internships, leadership training camp, a variety of weekend training programs and activities and PRLEA training, which is the final leg of their journey. Since its inception, the ProRanger Philadelphia program has enjoyed a 100 percent job placement rate for students that have completed the program successfully.
“Our program is truly unique in that you can leave it completely ready to join the National Park Service as a law enforcement ranger right out of the gate. Being a law enforcement ranger is a unique job with unique challenges — every park offers a different set of circumstances,” said Greene. “Our students are well trained and receive a well-rounded education, which provides them with the knowledge and skills to handle a variety of circumstances. As a ranger, you need to be a teacher, a leader, a police officer, a medical responder — it is a comprehensive set of skills that makes you uniquely capable of serving the public.”
ProRanger Philadelphia has alumni working in parks from Alaska to St. Croix, from Independence National Historical Park in the center of Philadelphia to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the Black Hills region of South Dakota.
“How many professions provide such a diversity of opportunities and experiences — the ProRanger program made that possible for us. Some of our students are going to come into the program knowing full well this is the perfect career choice while there are going to be others, like me, that realize that from firsthand experience,” Greene said. “Our students have a very special opportunity being part of this program; they are part of something larger, something important. Whether they are protecting these national treasures in their own backyard or across the country, they will leave here ready to face the challenge head-on.”
For more information about the ProRanger Philadelphia program, visit temple.edu/proranger.