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Second Careers: Park Ranger

Former electrician chose nature

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Dustin Cohen

DALE KLCO, 68 | $15,000 a year

"People will sometimes stop me and say, ‘I want your job."

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Dustin Cohen

Home: Hobe Sound, Fla.

Previous life: Electrician

How he did it: Don’t be afraid to start by volunteering. At the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge and Nature Center, I assisted in animal care and as a docent. When there was a job opening, my manager encouraged me to apply.

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What he does: I collect visitor fees, and at Hobe Sound I patrol in an ATV. I educate visitors about shore dynamics, ecology, and about the sea turtles and shore birds that nest here. During nesting season, a team guides people onto the beach at night to observe female loggerhead turtles filling their nest chambers.

What you need to know: It’s been an adjustment transitioning from private industry to the bureaucratic constraints of the government. But between savings, Social Security and my earnings, I’m doing great.

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