The Fourth of July was a busy day for Bryan Hurley, a naturalist aid at Sibley State Park, where the campground, beach and picnic area were filled to capacity.
As a member of the new Minnesota State Park Naturalist Corp, he gave a butterfly and snake presentation and run the naturalist information table where he told campers about the park’s programs and natural resources of the park.
“So many people come to the park and never go any further than the campground and lake. There is so much more to the park,” said Hurley.
At the naturalist table near the beach he told children about the Junior Park Naturalist program.
“This information table is a good idea. So many people don’t know what we have here. When I demonstrate about butterflies I get about 30 people. When we bring out a snake about 100 show up,” added Hurley.
The Naturalist Corp is funded by the Legacy Amendment funded program that sets up internships for college students to gain on-the-job experience. The state is still taking applications as assistant park or water naturalists.
The aids will work with a professional naturalist at one of 17 Minnesota State Parks. As a member of the Minnesota Naturalist Corps they’ll learn how to connect people with the outdoors by leading hikes and campfire programs, teaching outdoor skills such as camping, fishing and geocaching or they might work with kids who are visiting the park on a school field trip.
Some of the naturalist corps members will work with the award winning MinnAqua Education Program.
Candidates for the jobs must be a permanent Minnesota resident. They may be a completion of freshman year or a graduate with a two or four year post-secondary degree have a major or minor in biology, botany, fish and wildlife, forestry, MN natural and cultural history, environmental/outdoor education, environmental studies, natural resources management or related fields.
Courses in public speaking and mass communications are desirable. Naturalist Corps members need to be physically able to traverse diverse and rugged terrain. Students require an approved college internship. Naturalist Corps members must enjoy working with the public and the outdoors.
Corp member will be paid $11 an hour for up to 40 hours a week. Applications can be found at www.mnstateparks.info and click on the link to internships.