Editor's note: Community Impact spent a few hours with Flower Mound town employee Christian Baker for a day-in-the-life glimpse at the work of a parks and recreation staffer.

Christian Baker wanted a job that allowed him to work outside.

He found one that delivers on that wish—and more.

Baker works for the Flower Mound Parks and Recreation department’s forestry crew as the interim crew leader. His job entails ensuring trees and other vegetation are continuously monitored, including, for instance, cutting down and disposing of dead trees.

Baker has worked for the town for more than four months. He previously worked in Bedford.

“In general, in this line of work, about five years,” he said, noting his full experience.

Baker always has plenty of work to oversee, as did the parks and recreation department with renovations conducted at some parks this year. The department received accolades for its efforts in the community, such as winning the 2023 Texas Recreation and Park Society's North Region's Excellence in Programming Award for the Senior Program Award for the Grandparents Camp. The department's irrigation crew also finished in the top five at the TRAPS North Maintenance Rodeo in the irrigation event, and the town’s Senior Center received accreditation from the National Council on Aging.

The details

In the forestry division, employees concentrate on maintaining the aesthetics and healthiness of the trees, Baker said. He has a list of town parks—54 total—where he monitors the trees.

“With how many employees that we have in parks, if something happens, we usually find out about it regardless of whether I go out there or not,” he said.

Zooming in

Baker has two people who work with him. On a recent fall day, he and crew members Mo Camargo and Mason Hofstrom trimmed trees on Homestead Street and Rawlings Street. The branches that were trimmed were fed into a wood chipper. The same process occurred later at Culwell Park, where Baker cut down a dead tree with a chainsaw and fed its remains into a chipper.

“The average day—God forbid nothing comes up throughout the night that a tree came down—is we’ll come in, and we have a little crew leader meeting where we discuss everything that might be going on in the town, [such as] special events that are upcoming that we need to prepare for,” he said.

There exists a department ethos, in that everybody pitches in and helps out, whether it be setting up for special events or working at those events, he said.

“Just anything that is needed, period,” Baker said.

He said if he is at a park and something needs attention, such as a look at a playground equipment’s safety, he will spend some time doing that.

“It’s good to have extra eyes on it,” he said.

Diving in deeper

At one point during the day, Baker stopped by Rheudasil Park to check on sand that could enter and clog the pipes at the hand-wash station.

A normal day also might include taking care of a limb or tree that fell, he said. Trees that are ground up will have their remains disposed of at the rear of the town’s shop area.

Hazards are part of his job, such as watching out for poison ivy and ensuring one wears ear plugs around the wood chipper.

If the town is open and functioning on bad weather days, crews will be working too, he said.

“Whether it be negative 10 degrees outside or even on those 102 hot days, we still get out and work like we normally would,” he said.

Put in perspective

Baker, who previously worked in retail, said it was a bit of a "culture shock” when he transitioned from the retail industry to working outside. In his current job, he is on call when a situation necessitates his presence.

Baker said he is working on earning his arborist certification now, which is something the town provides training for. Flower Mound has an arborist who can examine a tree for sickness or affliction.

He said he likes working outside because of the fresh air and because he can work with his hands more so than in the retail environment.

Quote of note

“I just like being able to stay busy all day long,” he said. “There’s never a dull moment because you’ll start in the morning, and then the next thing you know, it’s time to head back for lunch, and then after that, the day’s gone. It’s kind of nice.”