Park ranger sings goodbye to Buffalo National River with original song

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The Woman Who Sings Conservation Spoofs quit her job at Buffalo National River, but she’s still a ranger.

Lauren Ray is known for adding her own twist to songs by Adele, Bruno Mars, Snoop Dogg and more. In 2018, Ray told the News-Leader that she didn’t share her voice or music until she found friends to play with.

Ray performed conservation classics like a song about planning your trip, to the tune of “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars, and an update on some of the park’s items in Lost and Found , to the tune of “Someone Comme toi” by Adèle.

Ray grew up in Bentonville, Arkansas, and always loved the outdoors and wanted to do “something in conservation.” But it wasn’t until college, at the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas, that she decided she wanted to be a ranger, which she did in 2016 at Buffalo National. River.

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Lauren Ray speaks with children during a 2019 weekend program in Boxley Valley.

Ray’s latest video scored nearly 50,000 views as she shared the end of her time at Buffalo National River. She is now a ranger at the Valles Caldera National Reserve in New Mexico.

“As a parting gift and love letter to my favorite river on her 50th birthday, I thought I’d share one more song with you all,” Ray said at the start of the just over. four minute video.

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Lauren Ray sits in her uniform at a 50th anniversary movie night at the Kenda Drive-in this summer.  Surrounding her are members of the board of directors of Buffalo National River Partners.  Top row, left to right: Jacque Alexander, Aletha Tetterton, Barry Martindale.  Bottom row, left to right: Terrie Martindale, Ginger Milan, me, Ellen Corley.

Ray sings the original melody, titled “Unbroken”, while strumming his guitar. The lyrics evoke scenes from the National Buffalo River “nestled in the heart of the Ozarks”.

On her way to her new job park with cats Gary and Screech, Ray took a few minutes to catch up with the News-Leader once more. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Buffalo National River, a bittersweet moment for its departure.

Lauren Ray gives a presentation from 2017 detailing the solar eclipse as well as ancient folklore and interesting facts about solar eclipses.

“Am I ‘jumping ship’, so to speak, in the middle of such a special year?” Ray asked before doing the farewell video. “I knew I had to do something to just thank all the wonderful people I’ve had the opportunity to work with over the years and of course show my love for the river itself.”

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Besides paddling, the people are what he will miss most during his time on the Buffalo National River.

“People who love the Buffalo River, who live there, who have managed it for many generations, even long before the National Park Service showed up in the area,” Ray said of the friends she made. made among the various partnerships over the years. . “That will be what I will miss the most.”

Thinking back to 2016 during her freshman year at Buffalo River National, Ray said she “did a silly little rap song about karst topography.” It was the first song she sang as a ranger, but she thinks she will continue to sing.

“So many people connect with music,” Ray said. “When I started making these little music videos, I was spreading the word about important concepts on the Buffalo River in a creative way that more people were going to potentially hear and listen to, so basically, public service announcements musicals as a park performer.”

Ray later added that some of the most meaningful interactions with people were because she started making music videos.

“People have told me that these videos have helped them and their friends and families make safer and smarter decisions about the Buffalo,” she said. “Ultimately, park rangers want people to have a good time and feel inspired by their public lands while using them respectfully and responsibly.”

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She hopes the videos will continue to encourage visitors to “practice stewardship and responsibility when enjoying the outdoors.”

For more information on Buffalo National River and its 50th anniversary, visit https://www.nps.gov/buff/index.htm.

Sara Karnes is an outdoor reporter with the Springfield News-Leader. Follow his adventures on Twitter and instagram @Sara_Karnes. Do you have a story to tell? Email him at [email protected]

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