Each year the Environmental Education team adds two summer interns to their staff to help out with summer camp programming, public events, and other educational efforts during our busiest season. It’s a great opportunity for college students and those striking out on a career in environmental education to get some real world experience & we love having the extra hands here at the park. Get to know our 2017 EE interns & make sure to say hi next time you are at any of the parks for an event.
Katie & Emily hard at work on our “What’s Up” board at the Loess Hills Lodge
My name is Emily Wagaman and I am one of the two naturalist interns working here at the Hitchcock Nature Center throughout this summer. I was raised just a little ways away from here in Glenwood, Iowa. Nature has always been a huge part of my life starting from a very young age. I grew up constantly camping, fishing, kayaking, and hiking. In middle school I had an amazing biology teacher that taught science in such a way that from then on I knew it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. My plan is to now use that passion of the natural world and all of the wonders it holds and make a career out of it. I am going to be a senior in the fall and am enrolled at Simpson College pursuing a degree in Environmental Science. My goal is to graduate in April of 2018, then after that I hope to find a job working in the field of water ecology and conservation.
I was not fortunate enough to have visited this park with all of its amenities before beginning working here as my family tended to travel to parks more towards central and northern Iowa where the rest of my family is. However, since then I have been able to experience it a bit more and am extremely excited to be working here now. I also can’t wait to bring my golden retriever out with me hiking through the numerous trails.
This internship that Hitchcock offers a great opportunity that I am very appreciative I have been given. I am hoping to use my time here working in environmental education to ignite a love of science and the environment in others similar to that which my biology teacher inspired in myself. The Loess Hlls contain a precious ecosystem and I feel it is very important to teach others not only the harm we are causing it and the world, but also the good we can do to turn that around and just how much fun environmentalism can be. I am very excited to be a member of the team out here at the Hitchcock Nature Center and cannot wait to see where it will lead me next.
Emily & Katie head out for a spring field trip with Ranger Ryan Penney & Naturalist Kristen Bieret
My name is Katlyn Schulz, and I am one of the Naturalist interns for the Pottawattamie County Conservation. Ever since I was little, my parents worked to expose my brother and I to positive nature experiences through our annual trips to the Colorado Rocky Mountains, as well as by going on hikes in local parks near my home in Omaha, Nebraska. Because of this, a love for spending time outdoors and a desire for a healthy environment was fostered inside of me from a very young age. When I was choosing a college, such love for the outdoors prompted me to major in Environmental Science (on the biological conservation track) at Drake University.
Soon to be a junior in the fall of 2017, my major has not only increased my passion for nature and the environment tenfold, but has also provided me with many exciting opportunities. Through my position as the conservation chair the Drake Outdoor Leadership Club, I am able to express my passion and help to spread awareness about the environment, sustainability measures, and conservation opportunities throughout the Drake University campus. In addition, I joined the Drake service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, and have been able to volunteer with restoration and river cleanup projects, as well as work with the community. Also – a fun fact about me: I have played the violin for twelve years and love playing in the Drake University Symphony Orchestra as well as the pit orchestra for community musicals!
This is my second year working at Hitchcock Nature Center, as I worked with the Natural Areas Management (NAM) team doing restoration and conservation work around the county during the summer of 2016. I had a very positive experience with the NAM team, so I was very excited to return to the park and work with the environmental education team. The knowledge that I gained from my internship last summer was very enriching, as I was able to apply skills like plant identification, and knowledge of effective conservation practices and controlled burns and apply them to my studies.
Although I am still unsure of what I would like to do as a full-time career after graduation, working at Hitchcock Nature Center has definitely sparked an interest in either working in conservation or environmental education. In addition, I have also considered working as an environmental scientist or activist, as I am extremely passionate about combating global climate change and renewable energy as well! While I still have a while before I need to make a career decision, I am very excited to make a positive environmental impact as a Naturalist intern! I feel that this experience will be highly beneficial, and I cannot wait to learn about environmental education and community outreach, as well as pass on my knowledge onto younger students and foster the same love for nature that I have in them!