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Meet the Edge of the Wilderness Naturalist

My name is Mara Salfer, and I’m the 2018 Summer Naturalist at the Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center. As a child, I was really passionate about the outdoors and exploring the natural environment around me. I grew up in southern Minnesota and every chance I had to be outdoors, I took it. My family and I would spend much of our free time hiking, kayaking, fishing, camping, and anything else we could do. As I got older, I never lost my passion for the outdoors. In high school, I would volunteer with the local fisheries of the Department of Natural Resources and help them with their fieldwork. This hands-on experience led me to pursue an education in the field of Natural Resources.

I am currently a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point majoring in Environmental Education and Interpretation. I chose this path of education because I strongly believe in the importance of teaching people about the incredible natural environment around us. I hope that throughout my future career I will be able to teach others about important environmental ethics and how to make a positive impact within their local environments. Another goal I have for my future career is to help strengthen the connection between children and the natural environment. This connection helps to create a strong sense of curiosity and eagerness to learn, as well as introducing the idea of environmental stewardship.

I was so excited to receive the summer naturalist intern position here at the Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center because northern Minnesota is probably my favorite area of Minnesota. There are so many beautifully preserved and protected natural areas, along with some well-preserved historic locations. Northern Minnesota also offers a large variety of activities for all ages, such as fishing, shopping, hiking, camping, and so much more. I was also happy to be interning at the Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center since many of their core environmental education goals and values match up with mine.

The Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center offers a variety of naturalist programs and events throughout the year. The Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center also offers indoor interpretative displays, an interpretative trail, kayak and canoe rentals, fishing pier, picnic area, CCC building listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Marcell lodge rentals, gift shop, and more! The Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization.

Throughout the rest of the summer, three naturalist programs will be offered every week. Each naturalist program starts at 11:00 am on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. These naturalist program topics range anywhere from soil to the night sky and everything in between, and every program is geared towards all audiences! Each program starts with either a forty-five-minute presentation or a nature walk, and the programs will typically end with a hands-on craft. The purpose of the naturalist programs is to give the public a better understanding of the environment and natural wonders around them. Most of the programs also talk about how individuals can help make a positive impact in the environment through actions they can take on the given topic.

I invite you all to check out the Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center on Facebook to stay updated on upcoming programs I will be presenting, weekly nature fun facts, and other special announcements! We hope to see you all very soon!