Turning Passions Into Committment

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" We've all been asked this a hundred times, but I'll never forget the excitement I felt when I finally decided the answer to that question.

After spending most of my childhood exploring the timber behind my house, learning everything I could about nature and wildlife, I developed an undying love for the great outdoors. At 14 years of age, I decided I wanted to pursue a career that would enable me to share this passion and outdoor experiences with others.

I’m now a full-time college student and a part-time seasonal staff at Polk County Conservation.  I work as a community outreach technician, helping to educate and inform surrounding communities about PCC. This past summer and fall I also assisted with environmental education programs, field trips and volunteer events.

Through my short time here I've had the opportunity to work with employees in several different units, learn about the variety of jobs within the organization and see how many different paths a career in the natural resources field can take.

One of my favorite experiences so far has been working at the Jester Park Amphitheater.  We hosted free public events there each Saturday this summer.  The nature programs I led there included:
  • Owls of Iowa
  • Reptiles of Iowa
  • Mammals of Iowa
  • Wet Wildlife in Iowa
It was so much fun to plan these and decide what fun facts to share about all the critters I love!

On Saturday afternoons I’d go through the campgrounds with flyers and invite campers to walk over and join me for a program after they finished their dinner. I loved this part because I got to meet lots of people and hear about their camping experiences, whether they were seasoned campers or braving it out for the first time.

Soon a crowd would gather in front of the amphitheater, lounging in lawn chairs or in the grass enjoying the calm breeze of a summer evening.

After teaching about the subject, I gave the audience some “play time” to get a closer look at the props I brought or to hike and find some of them in the wild.

What amazed me the most during these programs was the high participation rates from each and every person. Children never hesitated a second to feel a mammal fur or hold a snake. No matter how old or young, they were eager to learn and absorb knowledge.

I can only hope that by informing them about these animals and resources I also sparked an interest. I hope that my passion ignited a passion within them, a deeper appreciation and sense to care for the nature surrounding them.

By: Logan Roberts


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