Our long-time employee says goodbye.
“I saw a sign,” she told me, “while driving down 29. There’s a place that needs summer interns. They do summer camps and stuff. You’d probably be good at it.
“It’s called the Great Valley Nature Center.”
Neither she nor I imagined that 8 years later, I would be sitting at my desk at the Great Valley Nature Center, trying to figure out how to say goodbye as yet another summer winds down.
It’s been a very long time. Kids who were trailrompers when I started are now in adventure camps, and during my first summer, I could handle Rosie the boa by myself. What was supposed to be just a summer job has become a very big part of my life.
From one of a dozen new interns, to a long-time intern, to contract staff, to office administrator, I have worn a lot of hats here. IT, camp instructor, webmaster, event coordinator, curriculum developer, volunteer coordinator, and general Do-er of Things; you name it, I’ve probably done it.
My time here has had its ups and downs. I have seen a bewildering array of strange childhood behaviors, suffered through several versions of the membership database (including Access2000, a fate I would not wish on anyone), and mourned the loss of our bald eagle. Then again, I’ve also watched dozens of kids grow over the years as they come back summer after summer, handled animals that many people are afraid of, and learned more about biology, chemistry and the Lenape than I had ever thought I would.
I did not come from an environmental science background, but from an education background. I love watching people’s faces light up when they suddenly “get it.” I’ve loved doing programs for schools and being able to teach something new to both the kids in the front row, and the chaperones in the back. I love the looks on everyone’s faces, visitors big and small, when they first see an owl or chinchilla. Nothing tickles me more than one chaperone turning to another after hearing something explained and whispering, “I never knew that!”
I’ve enjoyed being able to use my creativity to create programs and teaching materials, everything from a demonstration of how triangulation works for a geocaching program, to a portable fake fire for our Lenape festival outreach program, built out of sponges and cellophane and tissue paper.
As much as I love the teaching we do here, it’s time for me to go back to learning, so I’m heading off on an adventure to graduate school. As much as it pains me to leave GVNC and as much as I’ll miss the rest of the incredible, talented staff, I need to head out into the world.
Thank you all for your continued support of GVNC, and for being such a fabulous community to be a part of over the last 8 years.