Story of the Week

Service member handling a raptor. "While serving at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) as an Environmental Educator, I delivered many different types of education programs. Some were large, formal presentations, others were small private experiences, and many were educational outreaches for schools, camps, and libraries. At times, it felt as though I was educating to anonymous audiences where I likely would not get the chance to speak with them one on one and couldn't always tell if I was having an impact.

However, throughout my term I had many instances of people coming up to me after the program and engaging further. Sometimes, it was someone coming up and telling me about how they've been going to VINS for years and how much they enjoyed the visit this time and the improvements they've seen. Kids who loved raptors and were excited to learn more about their favorite birds and see them up close in person. People looking to tell me their stories of birds they've spotted over the years. Families from out of state who wanted to compare what birds we could both see in our backyards and how they were doing in the wild here. The other week, I had a couple thank me for talking about rodenticides as a conservation concern because they've seen the negative impacts of them in their own community and were happy to hear me educating about avoiding their use. There were many other small moments like these over the year that each stuck out to me and I always appreciated the time people took to go out of their way to make this connection. They all served as reminders that despite how big an audience may seem, I was able to have an impact both on my own community and others.