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Career Story: Program Specialist At A Nature Center

Program Specialist At A Nature Center

Job Title: Nature Program Specialist

Type of Company: I work for a local municipality at a nature center.

Education: BS, Wildlife Biology, North Carolina State University •• MLS, Zoology, North Carolina State University

Previous Experience: I worked for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission for 12 years but have been where I am since 1990.

Job Tasks: I am in charge of all nature programming at a nature center, with a staff of four to six programmers, that is operated by our local township. I conduct nature programs for all ages of visitors, manage the center's natural resources and serve as lead liaison for all on-site research. I also conduct surveys of flora and fauna at the center and I am inevitably involved in day-to-day operations (and many other duties as required).

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is working outside and teaching others about the natural world. I also enjoy conducting natural resource management at the site and doing species inventory work.

The worst part is dealing with part-time staff who are often not qualified to teach about nature.

Job Tips:
1. Volunteer whenever you can.

2. Realize you will work for low pay for the first part of your career.

3. Learn as much as you can about the natural history of the area you will be working in. Know your subject!

4. Listen when others who know more than you do are talking.

5. Read on your own to learn more. Attend trainings on your own time to increase your knowledge base.

6. Do what you are told and always be respectful. You may be impressing a future employer!

7. Be the first one in and the last to leave if you can. Don't let anyone outwork you. Plenty of people are smarter but they can't outwork you.

8. Get enough sleep, exercise and eat right. You'll be a better worker.

9. Don't come into a job asking for a lot of time off right away.

10. Get outside to learn. Don't do all your learning by computer.

1
1. Try and learn new facts every day.

12. Be a good listener.

13. Practice interpretive techniques with others who can give you good feedback.

Additional Thoughts: Don't complain and put your time in at the lower levels of the profession. Always work harder than everyone else. Never burn any bridges.

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