We all know Lake James State Park is a wonderful place to experience and learn about nature, and our park rangers can offer up a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the environment. Lake James is especially fortunate to have a dedicated lead Interpretation and Education ranger in Nora Coffey. In fact, a visitor to the park is probably just as likely to see Ranger Coffey leading a group of school kids in a lesson on watershed dynamics or fun facts about the wild turkey as they are to spotting a white- tailed deer crossing the park road.
Ranger Coffey joined the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation in 2007. A native of Chicago, I.L., she is a graduate of Southern Illinois University. Before becoming a park ranger, Coffey worked at the renowned Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.
In 2009, Coffey was promoted to her current rank of advanced ranger. In addition to coordinating the park’s I&E program, Ranger Coffey is in charge of the time- consuming campaign to treat and save the northern and Carolina hemlocks within the Lake James State Park boundary from the destructive hemlock wooly adelgid. She also heads up the park’s box turtle tag- ging project.
“I love teaching people about the resource manage- ment activities we do at Lake James and why we do them,” said Coffey. “It’s very rewarding to be able to pass along what I learn about the natural world and in turn promote its stewardship.”