I feel that our National forests and other natural areas are very important for the well-being of the plants and animals that live in them as well as the people who visit them. I have seen firsthand how getting out in nature can help people. I think that it is important to help others get out and have great experiences in nature, while understanding how to protect those areas at the same time. I am very happy to be part of the Mt. Adams Institute’s VetsWork program because it has given me a chance to do just that while working with the US Forest Service.
My favorite thing that I’ve done so far has been interacting with the public at events, such as the Winter survival/avalanche training we put on, and the Pendleton Life Outdoors Show. I find it rewarding helping people get the information they need to go explore the forest or just helping them find the best place to go camping. I also had fun interacting with them while they tried to match up tracks to the animal that left them; most people found out they knew more than they thought they did!