Tuesday, March 5, 2013

It was back to school today for me

Even though most of the volunteers had a scheduled day off today, we all went in for some training.  It was back to school for us to learn more about presenting excellent interpretive programs.  Over my lifetime, I’ve spent many many years in school in order to advance in my working career.  That included five plus years of college for my bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and then a couple of more years for my Work Experience License in Minnesota and my Principal’s License.  Had I ever taken the time to write a dissertation, I could have had a Doctorate Degree.  

So, I bet you think I loved going to school?  Wrong!  I did it because I had to.  I would have preferred doing almost anything else!  This day of schooling was different.  I was there because I wanted to learn more about the outside world that is so dear to my heart.  Don Berryhill was our instructor, and what a wealth of knowledge he is about the Okefenokee swamp.  Don has spent a lifetime studying everything about the swamp, and the most amazing thing to me is that he remembers it all including the official Latin names for most all of the plant and animal species that we encountered today. 

IMG_1854After some brief classroom time going over the principles of the best interpretive presentations, he took us on a walk along the Canal Diggers Trail for some hands on learning.  You may remember that Emma and I hiked this trail just a few days ago.  On our wanderings, I didn’t see half of the things that Don pointed out to us this morning.  This was my kind of learning!  I absorbed more in those 90 minutes than I would have in hours of reading books about it.


After lunch, he led us through a pond study program that we do for school groups that visit the refuge.  I wish I had 1/10 of this man’s knowledge about the circle of life in our various environments.  What a grand learning day it was.

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As most of the class walked to the Canal Diggers Trail this morning, I chose to drive my car there.  I knew I’d be able to walk the trail, but I wasn’t sure about adding all of the steps from the VC to the trailhead and back.  I didn’t want to push it with my hip since there are no benches to rest on along this trail.  As I was waiting for the group to arrive at the starting point for me, I couldn’t help but enjoy all the birds bubbling around the woods in the morning sunshine.  There were brown thrashers, Eastern towhees, yellow-rumped warblers, a white-eyed vireo, and a family of red cockaded woodpeckers (RCW’s) that moved through.  Luckily, the RCW’s hung around long enough so everyone could see them.  Alligators and RCW’s are what people come to the refuge to see.  I was wishing I had one of my bird tour groups with me.

I have all day tomorrow off, so it’s time to clean the rig and do laundry.  Not exciting, but necessary. 

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy