Parks and Recreation Month has officially come to a close. We’re wrapping up July with one last Great Parks team member who’s been working in parks and recreation for quite some time, Parky the Raccoon. Though raccoons are typically nocturnal, Parky graciously sat down with us to share more about their tenure at Great Parks of Hamilton County.
Meet Parky the Raccoon, Great Parks Mascot
How long have you worked for Great Parks of Hamilton County?
Since I was born in 1983.
What first interested you in working in parks and recreation?
I don’t know how to explain it. The idea of working in parks just kind of came to me one day. Ever since I was a young raccoon kit, I was always drawn to nature, parks and recreation. I’m lucky that I get to work in a place I love.
What is a typical day at work like for you?
There is never a typical day in the life of a raccoon! One day I’ll be marching in a parade, another I’ll be judging jack-o’-lanterns at Creepy Campouts. Then the next day, I’ll be playing soccer with kids, listening to the nature interpreters tell guests about snakes and birds of prey or taking photos with my adoring fans.
How does your work directly impact park guests?
I see a lot of people when I’m out and about. I know that they’re visiting a park to enjoy themselves or get away and unwind in nature. I’m here to help with that. Whether someone is having a rough day and needs a friendly face, or guests are wanting a laugh, I’m the raccoon for the job.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love making guests smile. People come from all over to hang out with me – I mean visit Great Parks. I want to make their visit the best park experience they’ve ever had.
Who do you spend the most time with outside of work?
I’d have to say my friend Gary the Lion. We like to have dance-offs with each other. I win most of the time. (Don’t let Gary tell you otherwise!)
How do you like to spend your free time?
I love exploring somewhere new outdoors and a good nap. When I’m not sleeping, I enjoy digging through trash. After I’m done scoping out the trash, I put everything back in the right bin, of course.
Do you have a favorite spot in Great Parks?
I don’t know why, but I’m always drawn to Parky’s Farm. I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s just something about that place that it always has been my favorite. It must be being able to see all of my friends – the horses, alpacas, goats and cows – that I love going there. There’s something about the name that makes me love the farm even more. …
What are your hopes for Great Parks of Hamilton County’s next 90 years?
I hope that people continue to connect to nature and see how important parks and recreation are to our community. I want everyone to feel welcome when they visit parks – just like how guests make me feel welcome when I visit with them. I would love to see parks and the habitats they protect expand so my fellow raccoons and other creatures have more places to explore. Oh, and naming more places after me wouldn’t hurt either!