Throughout my youth and young adulthood, I was fortunate to grow up surrounded by nature. My family and I lived near sprawling grasslands, towering mountains, and a riparian stream, all located just minutes from our home. Since a young age, I have been amazed by the interaction of human built infrastructure as it coincides with nature, making it accessible for recreation. I think my early interest in nature and its beauty sparked my interest and led me to pursue it as a career path.
At the age of 14, I began working with the Boulder County Youth Corps. This job served as my first introduction to resource management. I will always remember one of my first assigned tasks—my team and I built a multipurpose trail completely from the bottom up. We dug through the dirt and mud for hours on end for many weeks, laying weed prevention fabric down along our progress. We then began laying trail material over the fabric, and the ditch we had been digging began to look like a professionally constructed trail. Later that summer I was asked by my supervisor to design and build a flagstone path that led from the trail to the adjacent stream.
It has been eight years since I first put the shovel into that plot of grass, and I still find myself proudly riding my bike on that trail and remembering the long, hot days that went into building the path. Building that stretch of trail and the flagstone path are very fond memories for me, and I am incredibly grateful that I was given the opportunity to do this type of work for my community to help people bond with nature.
Another memorable task that I undertook during that summer was the extensive removal of many invasive species that plagued the grasslands and riparian ecosystems of my community. Pulling mullein and sawing down Russian olive trees became a staple task of my summer before high school.
As tedious and uncomfortable as the work was at times, it felt rewarding to be working to promote the well-being of nature in my community. Through my work with the Youth Corps, I found my love of working outdoors.
I loved this seasonal job so much that I returned to it every summer for the next eight years. This simple entry level summer job ignited an interest in the management of natural resources that I would study for my undergraduate and now my master’s degree. Completing that trail and removing the invasive plant species all those years ago made me realize that I want a career that allowed me to work to make its beauty accessible for myself and others in my community.
Youth Corps Now Hiring
The Boulder County Youth Corps is currently recruiting Boulder County youth ages 14-17 for the 8-week summer employment program. Teens can apply online and their applications will be accepted through Wednesday, April 1.
Leader applications from those 18 and older will also be taken online until all of the positions have been filled. Challenge yourself this summer by joining the Youth Corps!
Find more information and apply online at www.BoulderCounty.org/youthcorps.