Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Welcome Seasonal Naturalists!

Erin Reno (left in image)
I am very excited to be working for Audubon as a Fall Seasonal Naturalist, and to be a part of the team here at Beidler Forest. I learn something new everyday about the swamp and I am eager to share this information with visitors.

I studied wildlife biology and forest management at the University of Georgia's Warnell School of Forest Resources. I have had many wonderful opportunities since my graduation. I have worked as an environmental educator, a community forester, a GIS technician, and an ecologist. I have also had the unique experience of co-captaining a small sailboat to the Bahamas. I am a true believer that you can do anything if you put your all into it.

During my leisure I enjoy spending time with my fiancé, John. We like to jog, hike, sail, and play with our dog, Tallulah. We plan to get married this November and we recently purchased a home in Summerville.

I hope to become a full-time naturalist in the greater Charleston area and encourage good stewardship of our plant and animal communities.

Nicomas Red Horse (right in image)
Raised on the Big Island of Hawaii my favorite thing to do was explore nature at every turn. This led me to work as a location scout for the film industry, and an eco-tourism company. As well as my volunteer work leading hikes for the Moku Loa chapter of the Sierra Club, and coordinating for E Mau Na Ala Hele, an organization that documents and restores ancient Hawaiian Trail systems. Until 1997, I was a Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe competitor, paddling in Hawaii, Tahiti and finally in the first Hawaiian Outrigger exhibition race in 1984 at the Olympics in Los Angeles. In 1999, I earned a B.S. in Agroecology from the University of Hawaii-Hilo, followed by a M.S. in Biological Sciences from South Dakota State University where my research was in bee systematics and pollination ecology. My work experience includes working as a research biologist in sustainable tropical agriculture, a USDA lab technician, a GIS cartographer for a THPO (Tribal Historic Preservation Office), and as a high school agriscience teacher. I am presently transitioning from teaching agriscience to working for the environment, either environmental education, or a position in natural and cultural resource conservation.

This fall I am working as a seasonal naturalist at Audubon-Francis Beidler Forest while taking a break from teaching and continuing my education at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks (UAF). I am a certified GLOBE (Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment) trainer and I hope while I am here I will get the opportunity to train South Carolina teachers from elementary to the university level. There are GLOBE protocols for just about every discipline in science. Students enjoy the hands-on experience and they report their data online. Scientists then use this data as reference points and to monitor global changes. This year I have spent several weeks in Fairbanks learning about International Polar Year (IPY) and several new GLOBE protocols. Teachers will be able to use these protocols with their students to see seasonal changes in their biome that may be caused from global warming. These protocols are aligned with National Science Standards for science and math. They are also aligned with some states standards, and I hope to align them to South Carolina by November.

I am really enjoying my time at Beidler and it will be hard to leave when the time comes. All my pre-conceived notions of what a swamp is have changed tremendously. I never thought I would fall in love with a swamp!

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