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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thanks for an amazing year!

Serving with the North Branch Nature Center as an AmeriCorps member has been an amazing experience. A year spent teaching and learning outdoors – what could be better? During quiet moments in the field, I often stopped to consider how lucky I was to pass a year in a beautiful place, with great people, doing fun and important work.
Lindsey leading the Fall Forest Preschoolers through the field 

           2013-2014 was the first year of my life spent so wholly outdoors and in one location. I felt connected to the field, forest, and river of NBNC in a unique way that allowed me to learn more from it. Seeing the landscape shift with the seasons seemed to put daily life in context.
Beautiful snowy field
Mary and our Spring Forest Preschool crew
            The incredible folks of North Branch Nature Center provided me with the support and knowledge I needed to grow as a teacher in my own right. Seeing these educators in action was inspiring. Always eager to share resources, tips or suggestions, these wonderful folks were open books of insight and experience to me. The little ones I spent my time with taught me a great deal, too! Through this lens, I was able to see the world in a new light – to slow down and investigate our world through play.
Forest School & their boats
On top of the education experience I gained, I was also exposed to so much naturalist knowledge. The wide range of topics covered by nature center staff is astounding! River ecology, mammal tracking, caterpillars, moths, wildcrafting, turtles, birds, bird banding, wildflowers, amphibians, crayfish, bees, medicinal herbs, fire tending… the list goes on. Participating in many events around the nature center (owl banding, the Superbowl of Birding, Birdfest and more) were great opportunities. I felt lucky to be surrounded by passionate people, so happy to share what they know about the natural world.

            To everyone in the North Branch Nature Center community (staff, volunteers, parents, students, campers): Thank you! Thank you for welcoming me onto the team, for sharing your wisdom, for letting me learn from your children. With expanding programs and many possibilities ahead for North Branch, it has been an exciting year to serve with such a unique and important organization.

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