Career Story: Naturalist At A State Park

Naturalist At A State Park

Job Title: Naturalist

Type of Company: I work at a state park where our mission is mainly public education but where we also are involved in a good bit of resource management.

Education: BS, Natural Resources, Cornell University •• MS, Zoology, North Carolina State University

Previous Experience: I have been an independent bird researcher and educator for over 10 years. Before that I was na ornithological technician with the State Museum of Natural Sciences.

Job Tasks: My job not only involves working with the public but also the flora and fauna of the park. I do surveys, bird banding and assist with prescribed burns in addition to producing programs for visitors and answering a myriad of natural history questions from the public.

I do a lot of bird programs for people of various ages who come to the park. These may involve bird banding demonstrations or the use of bird skins, nests, etc. to illustrate the topic. I produce the program descriptions and announcements for these programs as well as hand out materials. Sometimes the programs involve hikes through the property. I also help keep track of our hands-on educational materials and scientific materials (bird/mammal skins, bones, nests, photographs, etc.).

We constantly are creating or addressing initiatives. Recently I established a feeding station at the park. This is for photographers and nature watchers who stop by. I arranged for all of the materials involved, which were donated locally.

We also do sporadic survey work across the park property. It may be vegetation work on established plots or it may be moth baiting or bird point counts. We are responsible for maintaining an inventory of the flora and fauna of the park. Part of this also involves managing invasive species, which are mainly plants (i.e. Chinese wisteria).

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is that it is varied from day to day. There is very little repetitious work. Also, I spend a lot of my time outdoors where I prefer to be! Furthermore I have a lot of say as far as how I do my job. I can be as creative as I like.

The only down side is that the pay is not much above minimum wage currently.

Job Tips:
1.) Do not be afraid to start out as a volunteer some place in order to get your foot in the door.

2.) Be willing to be flexible when it comes to work hours and initial job responsibilities.

Additional Thoughts: My current full-time job is fun and very rewarding, as I had hoped. But it is not a career. And I do not have job security so I have to supplement what I do with short-term outside jobs as well. It takes persistence and creative thinking as well as a good number of contacts across the state to have enough work to keep me busy. Through my initial work in Raleigh at the state museum years ago, I was able to plug in to some important networks that helped me get established. These days, my active participation in our state-wide professional society of wildlife biologists still produces connections but to newer folks in the field.

Popular Schools offering Wildlife Forestry Programs

quickinfoClick the Visit School Site buttons to go directly to a school's website and learn more about the school and programs it has to offer. School website will open in a new tab. .

Click the Request Info buttons to request more information from a representative at the school

Matching School Ads

Recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for: Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s 2017, Best Online Programs, Grad Education 2017 and Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s for Veterans 2017

  • Programs:
  • Degrees:

Concordia University - Portland offers several fully online 14-month Master of Education (M.Ed.) programs and a fully online Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) program.

  • Programs: M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Science
  • Degrees: Master

Pursue your education at Ohio Christian University.

  • Programs:
  • Degrees:

Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.

  • Programs: M.Ed. - Program Specialist in Math Specialist
  • Degrees: Master
Matching School Ads

Additional Career Stories for Zoologists And Wildlife Biologists

The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.

All Types

You are visiting:

Find a school near you

What are Career Stories?

Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.

Most stories include:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

More Details On This Career

Please also see our detailed information about Zoologists And Wildlife Biologists, including:

Back to Top