Fifteen years ago, I stood on a cliff at Mesa Verde National Park acutely aware that generations of people before me had stood in that same spot, watching the same sun rise over the same tree-lined ridge. Though thousands of years separated us, I wondered how simply standing in the same place could evoke universal feelings of hope and reverence for a sunrise. That curiosity has led to a life devoted to helping people connect with their natural surroundings.
Though my educational background includes degrees in Anthropology and Environmental Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an M.S. in Park and Resource Management from Slippery Rock University, I’ve found the most enjoyable and effective way to learn is through stories. As a camp counselor in Omaha, Nebraska, scouts would tell me stories of catching their first fish. As a surf instructor in Oahu, Hawaii, island visitors would share with me the thrill of catching a wave. As a park program director in San Antonio, Texas, families would recall for me how neighborhoods have changed with the restoration of the San Antonio River.
The preservation, protection and enjoyment of public lands are causes close to my heart. Each year, my partner and I travel to at least one National Park. Our favorite, so far, is the towering redwood forest, followed closely by the extraordinary “hoodoos” (look it up) of Bryce Canyon.
Moving to Indiana has brought me back to my roots in the prairie and forests of the Midwest. Watching seasons change each time I hike under a cathedral of tree branches or hearing turtles plop into water from a sun-warmed log are pure delight. It is a pleasure to call Muncie home for my newest adventure and an honor to join Redtail’s commitment to transform the way our community interacts with nature.