I'm Sierra, a soon to be college graduate of the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point (UWSP) with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Education and Interpretation. I wanted to start a thread to get other, more seasoned environmental educators (EE), stories in how they got to where they are today in the EE field.
As a student, I have found that this field is extremely competitive despite the constant need for naturalists and educators everywhere. I've been told that those pursuing a career within this field meant having to be willing to move across of country or at least the state they you in. How long do you have to wait to "settle down" in this career? I mean this in the terms of being able to get married, start a family, and have a stable career to lean into.
I was incredibly fortunate to get EE experience at the Wisconsin Lions Camp as the Environmental Education Specialist during the summer of 2021 that was only 30 minutes from my apartment. The idea of picking up and moving to a new place is daunting for anyone, but more so when you don't know the area in my opinion.
Was it hard for you to move away from what you know? At UWSP the natural world was but a short walk away as more than 70% of our campus is dedicated to a nature reserve. Most of my natural world experience and teaching has been done in central Wisconsin and it makes me nervous to think of packing up and heading across the country to teaching in an area I'm not familiar with.
What I do know as a certain is that passion trumps worry in this instance. Not a single person in the EE field has pursued this career path for fame and fortune, but every single person has had a passion for reaching people and making informed stewards of the earth. I want nothing more than to share this common goal.
If you're able, think back on your experience in college, your internships, your past jobs within the field. Then think about where you are now. How did you get there and what is your life like based on the path you took?