The Humble Beginnings of a Naturalist Intern

Then-volunteer, now-intern Reid along with then-volunteer, now-intern Kahryn
Then-volunteer, now-intern Reid along with then-volunteer, now-intern Kahryn
By Reid Jensen

Every young volunteer looks up to certain people here at The Outdoor Campus. As a youth volunteer I wandered the grounds of the campus with wide-eyed dreams of one day becoming one of The Few, The Proud, The Interns.

These role models seemed to be experts in every sort of craft, from amazing handiwork with a scissors all the way to their ability to teach a wide variety of classes, all while being at that cool college student status. As a young volunteer I dreamed of one day becoming a famed naturalist intern, even joking with my friends about such a crazy, out-of-reach idea.

Then, I decided to try and make this dream a reality.

Reid as a volunteer at Halloween Hike, 2012
Reid as a volunteer at Halloween Hike, 2012
I began to volunteer for as many classes as the volunteer coordinator intern would allow. Along the way, I was learning many tricks of the trade. After a while, the interns I looked up to discovered my dream to join their ranks and once they knew they were more than happy to help me in pursuing my dream.

As I continued to volunteer more often the naturalist interns were finding out where my passions were best suited; they began asking for me specifically as their help for certain classes. After volunteering for a wide variety of classes I began to become very familiar with the programs. I even began to pick up on certain teaching styles and what should be covered during TOC classes. This led to the interns asking if I wanted to help teach class instead of just assisting, or even sometimes teaching classes of my own! I soon began teaching classes with some regularity, gaining confidence with every class.

Reid behind the scenes of The Outdoor Campus as a naturalist intern planning programs
Reid behind the scenes of The Outdoor Campus as a naturalist intern planning programs
Sooner than I thought, I had the chance to apply to be a genuine Outdoor Campus naturalist intern. I waited anxiously by my phone for days until that call finally came. I answered, and was soon grinning ear to ear. I had been offered a job as a naturalist intern. I accepted without hesitation, as any eager college student would be crazy not to.

While working here this summer, I learned that there are many differences between being a volunteer and an intern. But these differences are well worth the experience and I would recommend chasing the dream of a naturalist internship to any eager volunteer.

Interested in an internship at The Outdoor Campus? We’re accepting fall Naturalist Intern applications right now. Must be a college student. Full or part time positions available. $9.45 an hour. Call 605-362-2777 or e-mail Derek.Klawitter@state.sd.us with any questions.

To apply now, visit https://scssdltmweb.agilera.net/ltm/CandidateSelfService/lm?_ln=JobSearchResults&_r=9&bto=JobPosting&dataarea=ltm&name=PostingDisplay&service=form&webappname=CandidateSelfService&HROrganization=1&JobRequisition=1744&JobPosting=1

Reid holding a girl's catch during a fishing class
Reid holding a girl’s catch during a fishing class
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