As a child, being outdoors was a huge part of my life. Some of my favorite memories are those in nature with the people I love. These memories included canoeing with my dad, fishing for bluegill with my grandfather, or even going to environmental education camps at a local arboretum in my hometown of Newark, Ohio.
Fast forward to 2019, and I am leading that same summer camp at the arboretum. In 2020, many summer camps had to shut down and turn away kids. By the spring of 2021, I was applying to many jobs, just hoping something would stick. The Student Conservation Association had various positions in Alaska, and I figured I would throw my name in the hat.
It was quite a shock when I received the first email from Ranger Michelle Ostrowski at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Honestly, I thought it was a scam. When offered the 13-week environmental education intern position, I said I had to “think on it,” but as soon as I hung up the phone, I was jumping up and down with excitement.
Within my first week, I was in awe of Alaska. I cannot describe how much my expectations were blown out of the water.