Hello friends! First off, let me introduce myself. My name is Liz and I am a Centennial Volunteer Ambassador for Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Northeast Ohio. I was born and raised here in the Buckeye State (O-H!) and I went to college at Kent State in NE Ohio where I received a bachelors degree in geology and minored in geography. My love of the natural world only grew more during my time at KSU when I spent my spare time hiking and volunteering in CVNP. For three years, I attended the Alternative Spring Break, a service-based spring break alternative, which was hosted by the park and the Conservancy for CVNP (the friends group). This was where I met the folks of the Volunteer Management Office who eventually led me to my current position as a CVA!
It has been almost seven weeks since I started my position and I have already worked with hundreds of volunteers, worked on several projects, and made numerous contacts with the public. My position started in the midst of the busy season, so there was nothing to do but dive head first into everything! I feel like I have learned so much in such a short amount of time and made many meaningful connections.
One of my favorite activities so far was working with a local after-school group. Throughout the week that they were here with us, they participated in service projects and recreational activities that were education based. One of these activities was going on a guided geology hike of The Ledges, one of the most popular hiking (and sunset) destinations in the park.
Myself and my CVA partner, Ryan, led one of the groups on this guided hike. Public speaking is not something new to me, but oddly enough I found myself very nervous and preparing for the hike every evening leading up to it. But, I really had nothing to worry about. With my degree being in geology, I was very comfortable explaining the geologic history and glacial past of the area in ways that a middle school-aged group would understand. This group of kids were shy and quiet, so it was a blast watching their excitement levels grow as we continued on the hike.
Ryan and I tag-teamed the guided hike of The Ledges, an area we both know very well. While I discussed the geology, he talked about the local history of The Ledges, the vegetation, and how the CCC played a role in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
The rest of the week with the kids continued to get better during their service projects and recreational activities. They sure had a lot of fun!
It’s crazy to think that this is my job. Never once has it seemed like “work”!
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”