After a few weeks on the job, I have come to the conclusion that I have one of the best jobs in the world. Not only do I get to enjoy the great outdoors, but I also have the important responsibility of educating the public regarding the environment.
Yesterday I shadowed a coworker who was working at the Lake of the Woods, a natural lake in the Fremont–Winema National Forest. As I ventured through the misty forest, I was taken aback by the beauty found in my “office.” In fact as I type this blog, I am drinking water I brought back from a local well located near this pristine forest. I can’t help but think this is what water is supposed to taste like— clean.
Many of my colleagues in the Forest Service have an environmental education background, which I do not possess. In preparation for my responsibilities as an environmental interpreter, I have had to study a lot. One area of study that has captured my attention is our country’s watersheds. Besides providing a habitat for so many creatures that we regularly depend on (whether we know it or not), watersheds serve as the first filtration system for the water that many of us drink.
Besides the awesome job, I have an exceptional work environment. My coworkers are extremely helpful; despite being exceptionally busy, they always take time to help me navigate the learning curve. My direct supervisor and the district ranger exceed all of my expectations. Besides being competent and capable individuals, they are kind people who seem genuinely interested and concerned for my well-being. I have expressed my desire to learn as much as I can about the forest and the Forest Service, and they both seem eager to help me accomplish that goal. We have an open line of communication and this makes work very smooth.
To say a little bit more about my job, I am a Youth and Community Engagement Program Assistant Coordinator. The Forest Service recognizes that managing the forest is an impossible task by themselves, and they have wisely decided to partner with the community in an effort to accomplish this goal. Two of my main duties include educating the public and establishing partnerships with like-minded organizations. My goal is to educate the public, especially urban youth, with conservation education and to demonstrate the value of a well maintained forest land. Our partners typically have the same goals, and I aim to lend a hand in whatever way possible to help them achieve those goals. The first few weeks here on site I mostly spent preparing for my role. This past week was the first time that I worked with the public, educating both high school students at the Klamath Basin Wildlife Refuge, and elementary students at their campus. I anticipate this to be a great year.