By Rene Stroud, Naturalist & Dillion Klein, EE Intern Pottawattamie County Conservation
Pottawattamie County Conservation and UNO have partnered to create opportunities for college students to “test the waters” in order to understand what a Naturalist or Environmental Educator do on a day-to-day basis. Students are given the opportunity to apply for the spring internship program. During this program students assist with programming, program development, marketing, and much more. The goals of this internship give students a multi-faceted experience that will help develop in the conservation field. The Spring 2017 intern is Dillon Klein. He introduces himself below:
Getting ready for an in-school program.
My name is Dillon Klein and I am a Naturalist Intern here at Hitchcock Nature Center. I was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. Starting as a baby I was immersed in the great outdoors with my family and friends. I have enjoyed camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, and the outdoors for over twenty four years now. And with my passion for the outdoors and our environment I am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. I am set to graduate in May of 2018. With my degree I hope to study the interactions between people and our environment and to find better sustainable ways of thriving while reducing our impact on our environment as a whole. My plan is to educate the public and help implement ideas to help our environment and achieve my goal. As of right now my main focuses are on water quality and how different strategies can achieve everything form restoration of habitat to improving our overall environment.
Hard at work at Hitchcock Nature Center.
To start I am very grateful to be given this opportunity of being a Naturalist Intern here at Hitchcock Nature Center. Ihave had a few years’ experience teaching as a part-time tutor at Westbrook Elementary in Omaha. Also, with the time I’ve spent outside in Iowa and in Nebraska I have years of personal experience to help me achieve my goals.
When it comes to my goals here at the center I want to educate the public and youth on how fragile and important the loss hills ecosystem is to our environment and how education and physical labor can help protect it. I have been lucky to watch Hitchcock grow as I camped in the camping grounds almost every other weekend in the summer and fall since it was built in the early 2000’s. I got to watch new infrastructure being built including the Natural Areas Management HQ, the Observation Tower, Rangers HQ, and several other improvements to the park. It was also fun meeting and getting to know the staff of the park through the years as well. My long experience with the park it will only help achieve my goals.
Overall I am grateful to be part of the Hitchcock Nature Center Team and I hope to make a positive impact on the loss hill ecosystem and public who enjoy the park.