Today, July 31, 2020, we say a fond “farewell” to one of our founding partners at wesforever.org. Ellen is retiring after nearly three decades of working for the National Park Service. She has participating in every planning meeting that we have had since last fall. Many of the words of our Mission Statement and the shared values are either hers or were inspired by her.
Since 2015, she has served at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area (WRNA) and we have been the richer for her presence. Besides her duties at an interpretive ranger, she worked with economically disadvantaged children at the Eagles Soar Youth Activity Center in Redding. She tutored them in science, technology, engineering and math “STEM” subjects, took them on field trips, and provided a gentle mentoring presence. She created the Winter Ecology Day Trip program at Lassen National Park for these and other children to get them outside and show them that “nature doesn’t stop” when there is snow on the ground. Her sense of adventuring was/is contagious.
In 2018, she was awarded the highest honor and most prestigious– Freeman Tilden Award for Excellence in Interpretation by the National Park Service for her work with Eagles Soar but she could have been awarded that same recognition for any of the work that she did in her past assignments at Yellowstone National Park, Curecanti National Recreation Area, Black Canyon in Gunnison National Park and a host of other locations.
At her retirement celebration, many individuals stood up and lauded her as one of the “best interpretative rangers” that they had pleasure of working with here or elsewhere. Always the humble and wise teacher, Ellen treated the assembled to two poems from Jan Richardson’s The Cure for Sorrow. Even at the end of her illustrious NPS career, those in attendance at this farewell were her focus. She imparted hope and a steady belief in her colleagues at WNRA, the post-Carr fire recovery of her community, and the future rebuilding of Whiskeytown Environmental School. Ellen, we wish you a long and well-deserved retirement.
Tyler hails from the Seattle area but has lived and worked in many places. He became hooked on the outdoors as a child during numerous summer roadtrips to National Parks across the western United States. Graduating from Natural Resources at Humboldt State University, he has taught environmental education at a number of venues. Tyler is well-versed in the Lawrence Hall of Sciences’ BEETLES program which emphasizes direct engagement with nature through exploration, scientific inquiry and discussion. He has also taught Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) which is used by Whiskeytown Environmental School.
After several years in environmental education, he made the decision to pursue a career with the National Park Service. Tyler has worked as a seasonal employee at both Olympic National Park (for five summer seasons) and, in 2019, was hired by Ellen as a seasonal ranger at WRNA. He returned this year as permanent ranger and we are delighted to have him as a new partner for his knowledge and experience with children in outdoor education.