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Staff Spotlight: Julia

Environmental Education Fellow

What is your favorite part of your position?

Teaching! It is an incredible opportunity to meet students where they are and inspire their sense of wonder and support their depth of inquiry about the natural world.

I have gotten to watch students step out of their comfort zones and experience “firsts”first time walking on a frozen lake, first time bird watching, first time seeing stars clearly, first time exploring the forest, and the list goes on.

What is your background in and how did you first get involved at Osprey Wilds?

I graduated from St. Catherine University with a B.A. in Biology in 2017. Shortly after graduation, I traveled to Cape Verde to work with loggerhead sea turtles in the field. I spent the next year and a half working as a tutor and Learning Center Coordinator in St. Paul, MN.

I was drawn to Osprey Wilds because I wanted to gain valuable experience in inspiring young minds to learn about Minnesota wildlife and ecology and nurture their care for environmental stewardship. Through my involvement in various opportunities over the past few years, I have discovered my skills and passion are well suited for a career in environmental education. 

The experiences before, during, and after my undergraduate studies that led to the development of my long-term professional goals are diverse and rich—interconnecting to inspire my passion for the preservation and protection of biodiversity—aptly reflecting the cooperative field of environmental science.

What is the coolest thing you’ve seen at work?

I really enjoyed seeing a wild North American porcupine for the first time this past fall. 

What is your favorite class to teach and why?

This is a tough one! One of my favorite classes to teach is Creek Creatures because students get to clomp around in the creek with rain boots and dig through the muck for hidden macroinvertebrates. So fun!

What are you most excited about in regards to your position? Are there any projects that you are working on that you can’t wait to share?

Since August, I have been flight-training our Educational Ambassador, Gibwanasii, an American Kestrel. He is currently flying to a gloved hand on cue, which is very exciting! It has been a very rewarding experience to develop my own training plan and implement it throughout my year fellowship.

As a final project for our Advanced Interpretation class, I am designing a winter ecology curriculum. My overall goal with this class is to build up and strengthen students’ relationship with winter through exploration and understanding winter adaptations in plants and animals. This winter, I met many kids and young adults who have a broken relationship with winter, and I want to design a class that can help connect them to the wonders of winter.

What are your plans after your fellowship is completed?

I will continue working in environmental education as a Naturalist Fellow at Dodge Nature Center in West St. Paul, Minnesota. I aspire to complete a Master’s degree in environmental education in the near future as well.


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