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Career Story: Nature Education Coordinator For A Small City

Nature Education Coordinator For A Small City

Job Title: Nature Education Coordinator

Type of Company: Local government in a city with a population of 38,000.

Education: BA, Biology, Ohio Wesleyan University •• MS, Ecological Teaching and Learning, Lesley University (Cambridge, MA)

Previous Experience: I have worked as a zoo keeper, a horticulturist and a part-time nature educator.

Job Tasks: I educate visitors of all ages, from pre-schoolers to senior citizens, on a variety of topics: animals, plants, insects, water quality and conservation, among other things. I work with volunteer "Green Teams" on projects like bluebird box maintenance and monitoring, vernal pool monitoring, invasive species removal, river cleanups, water quality monitoring, etc. I also manage wildlife issues in the neighborhood and work with local governments to promote public awareness of them.

On a typical day I might teach, write an article for the paper, answer calls concerning nuisance animals, collect scientific data, and prepare for the following day of classes. I also maintain all our licensing paperwork and our records of wildlife.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Educating the community about wildlife and the ecosystem is my life's passion and the favorite thing about my job. I greatly enjoy bettering park land for wildlife and being an advocate for progressive environmental ideas. Learning to live with wildlife and understand what a healthy system looks like is vital to a sustainable future.

My least favorite part... I am only one person without a staff. I wish I could educate more. I am torn in many directions throughout a typical day and prioritize each concern, class, wildlife issue depending on needs.

Job Tips: I would encourage anyone who wants to educate in informal settings to follow their dreams. These positions can be difficult to come by. Volunteer for an organization, obtain as much personal knowledge about your ecosystem and its history as you can, and also practice interpersonal skills. Network as much as possible; always admit what you don't know, and be willing to be a student for life. Let your passion shine through and follow your true desires.

Additional Thoughts: I think it's important to be patient when looking for a career. Many people want to walk into a dream job and sometimes do. However, the path leading to long-term employment can help an person to mature, allowing them to accumulate knowledge and build strength in leadership.

If you're interested in a particular employer, find out as much as you can about them. Make sure an organization is the right fit for you.

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