Today 13 people, including me, completed the 24-hour naturalist training program for the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. (Picture is of new naturalists and experienced volunteer trainers. I’m second from the right in the pic.) So now I’m a Volunteer Naturalist. I’m pretty proud of that title, and I’m excited about getting into it. Being part of the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s program is satisfying. I think I can say without fear of contradiction that it’s the biggest ongoing activity in the world preserving wildlife and habitat every day. We volunteers help out with that, and, best of all, we work for free!

The group pictured above is a extraordinary group. They all share a passion for nature and the mission of the TRNWR. They are teachers, engineers, forestry professionals, and many with strong science backgrounds. Pretty prestigious!

The naturalists for the refuge are kind of interpretive guides for getting the public into the refuge and helping them get the most out of their trek. We help them locate–when we can–what’s out there and understand why it’s important to protect it.

I have to say I’m a little overwhelmed by the scope of what “naturalists” try to know, understand, and communicate. It’s certainly full study for the rest of my life. But that’s all fine.

It’s the first day of Spring. Seems appropriate.


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