Thousands of school children along the Wasatch Front know him as Ranger Ted and enjoy his lectures on nature and conservation and his stories about Yellowstone National Park.
Ted J. Parkinson, a robust 73, has been a lecturing naturalist for nearly 45 years. Many of the principals in the schools he visits in Davis, Salt Lake and Utah counties remember Ranger Ted's visits when they were elementary school students themselves.Since the late 1940s, Parkinson, of Salt Lake City, has been a part-time teacher at Brigham Young University, a ranger naturalist at Yellowstone in the summer and a whirlwind lecturer, visiting 10 schools a day during much of the year.
He still teaches at BYU and spends his summers working at Yellow stone, but now visits just one school a day. But he spends all day at the school. He gives a lecture and slide show program in the morning to the whole school and then spends the rest of the day talking to gatherings of fourth, fifth and sixth grade classes.
His message is simple, but fascinating: "Appreciate and conserve nature; take care of our world; and do something every day to make our world better."