Meet nature's best friend, Brownsburg Parks Natural Resources Supervisor Greg Dickenson! Greg has been in the role since the beginning of January. He has already made some great strides in protecting parks' native plants, restoring wildlife, and managing our tree inventory.
Greg came to Brownsburg Parks as a part-time maintenance labor in 2018 and quickly established his expertise in natural resource management. He has served in many roles throughout his career, including as a Park Ranger for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County in Illinois.
He started as an Assistant Ranger directly after graduating from Western Illinois University with a degree in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration and a minor in Natural Resource Conservation. Greg worked his way up to Senior Ranger during his six years with DuPage County. At the time, there were 31 developed parks and over 25,000 acres of land under his jurisdiction.
Greg's primary role was daily maintenance and upkeep of county land. Regular tasks included flood controls, cleaning parks, and observing waterways. He regularly kayaked and inspected creeks running through the county. "Helping with brush fires was one of the more exciting aspects of the job," said Greg. "Rangers would be on-call for those situations."
The photo above pictures Greg using a drip torch to ignite the overgrown vegetation for a controlled wildfire, which is a necessary part of maintaining the ecosystem.
"The position also came with unusual and down-right obscure situations," Greg continued. "We would find stolen cars and tents filled with supplies in the woods. There was a mansion owned by the county that was regularly patrolled by the Rangers, and there were incidents involving possible paranormal encounters."
Greg also shared an encounter with a raccoon. Community members had come to know the raccoon as well-behaved, even almost domesticated. That was until one of Greg's colleagues was chased by the raccoon and had to call for backup. Greg helped capture it, but the critter escaped and chased him around, as well.
Greg's time as a Park Ranger not only gave him some entertaining stories, but it also allowed him to pursue his passions. He designed and led many classes and seminars that included fishing and wildlife training.
These experiences have shaped and led him to his current role with Brownsburg Parks. At the beginning of 2020, he took on the new title of Natural Resources Supervisor and has since begun initiating projects and working with volunteers throughout Brownsburg. If you see him out in the parks, ask him about his experiences -- he has much to share!