Sunday, September 21, 2014

Summer as an Interpretative Naturalist- Veronica Yager

Hello All,

Covered bridge at the entrance to Versailles State Park.
This summer I had the amazing opportunity to work at Versailles State Park in southeastern Indiana as the Interpretative Naturalist. I came across this wonderful opportunity while attending a career fair sponsored by the Forestry and Natural Resource department in the Spring of 2014.
Versailles State Park had hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trails. In order to make sure I could answer questions about all aspects of our park and explore our large property, I was able to bring my horse in and ride the horseback trails.  

My position at the park as the seasonal naturalist allowed me to start my job at the end of May after finals and work through the middle of August before coming back to Purdue to start the fall semester of my sophomore year. My main roles at the park included running the nature center, organizing interpretative programs, assisting in volunteer efforts, and communicating with the general public. This position allowed me grow as leader and develop effective communication skills.

Interpretative program with the ringneck snake. The ringneck snake will only grow in be about 12'' long at maximum. 

Throughout the summer I did a variety of different programs including the following: snakes, turtles, mammals, tracks, flowers, insects, landforms, tree identification, healthy stream identification, hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, recycling, and more. I learned more during the summer of 2014 then I could have ever imagined about several different aspects of nature.

Buddy park visit at Clifty Falls State Park.
 I was also able to make connections with individuals across the state who worked for the Department of Natural Resources during my interpretative training sessions and inservice training sessions. Thanks to the summer spent working at Versailles, I was able to meet individuals working in state parks all across the state of Indiana and form relationships that will be extremely beneficial when building my career.

The connections and experience that I gained this summer definitely made me realize that Natural Resources and Environmental Science is the right field for me.

Until next time,

Veronica Yager

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