Laurel Brannick grew up in Brooklyn New York. She attended Brooklyn College and graduated in 1985, with a degree in Education and Recreation. Laurel always loved the water. Her nickname as a child was Laurel Pool, as she was usually in the pool as much as possible.
Laurel’s first job in New York was as a lifeguard. She eventually also became a water safety instructor and lifeguard trainer. After visiting the Virgin Islands in 1986, on a vacation to scuba dive, Laurel decided moved to the Virgin Islands in 1990. In 1992 she was hired by Virgin Islands National Park as a lifeguard for Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay.
This job led to a long career at Virgin Islands National Park. As other opportunities opened Laurel made the move to being a park ranger, then educational specialist and ended her 30-year career this June as the Supervisor of Interpretation.
During her career at the park, Laurel taught hundreds of children to swim and took thousands of students on field trips into the park to learn about the natural and cultural resources of the Virgin Islands.
In 2008, Laurel was awarded an Environmental Quality Award by the Environmental Protection for being an Environmental Hero. Laurel was also chosen twice by the Friends of Virgin Islands National Park to receive the Park Partner Award as the Park’s employee who best worked with the community.
Laurel lives in Bethany St, John, with her husband Marc and 16-year-old son Dennis. In retirement Laurel still enjoys spending time with children and volunteers to read to the elementary school students at the Gifft Hill School.