Raising Future Conservationists

Tyler Naeve, East Maintenance Technician, looks back on his childhood and connection to nature.

What happens when you are raised in a house with four boys? You are kicked outside during the day and told to not come back until supper. At least in my house that’s what happened. The adventures we had in the timber behind our house filled my childhood. Little did I know those days would set me up for most of the decisions I’d be making as I grew older.

My name is Tyler Naeve, and I am the East Maintenance Technician for the Polk County Conservation. I am based out of Yellow Banks Park and care for all of our areas on the eastern side of the county.

I have the privilege of being in a job where monotony is never a concern. Parks, campgrounds, hiking trails, bike trails, and greenbelts all lend way to some interesting days and plenty of work to be done.

On different days, I find myself playing the part of electrician, plumber, garbage collector, painter…and the list goes on. I received my degree from college knowing the field I wanted to enter, but never fathomed the scope of jobs I would do.
No matter the project or job I am on, it’s amazing being able to step back and realize exactly where I am working. I get to see deer traveling the woods daily, and put down my hammer once to watch otters swim up a stream at the Chichaqua Valley Trail. I’ve watched a bobcat as it walked through the Yellow Banks campground, and I have pulled fish from the Thomas Mitchell pond with a seine net.

I have two children that are as accustomed to the outdoors and recreation as I am. We love to ride our ATVs and go fishing. We are always running from gymnastics to football to basketball and wrestling. My son harvested his first deer last year and discovered his own passion for hunting.

My only hope is the adventures they are having now have the same impact on them as it did on me. With any luck, when they are older and at their jobs, they too can stop, look around, and think, “Wow, I get to do this every day…”


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