Dear Naturalist bids farewell
Last week, I accepted a permanent position with the Yellowstone Association Institute in Gardiner, Mont.
I find myself on the first few pages of one the newest chapter in my book of life. It is entitled, “Ranger Amy Finds a New Home.”
Yes, I imagine my book of life to look something like a children’s book.
The pages detailing my life in Boone show a woman who is extremely happy and also growing as a person and naturalist. She is wearing the ranger’s flat hat and is proud. Around her is the green forest of Grandfather Mountain and thousands of trilliums in bloom.
These newer pages find me in the uniform of Yellowstone’s non-profit partner in education. It is a good job — the best that a naturalist can aspire toward.
For now, I am trying to get to know the history, plants and charismatic beasts of this new land. Perhaps one day I will love it as much as I loved the place where you are right now reading this.
I have a few favors to ask of you while I am gone.
First of all, please make sure to dance at the Valle Crucis Apple Barn and the Todd General Store at every opportunity. And do not forget to thank the band.
Secondly, get outside. Figure out what you love about living in the Blue Ridge. Who cares if you are the only person you know that is passionate about neon slim molds? If people give you a hard time, it is because they wish they cared about something as much as you do.
Do not worry about not having the right clothes or the most expensive gear or latest application on your iPad. The best naturalists had none of those things.
Let a sunset move you to tears and a blueberry cause you to smile. And when something is really good, say so.
Third, get your kids outside. They need it. The time spent outside with their families will be the best memories that they will carry into adulthood. It will make them better people.
Fourth, let your dogs outside. They really need it.
Lastly, come for a visit sometime. I would be glad to show you around my new home of Yellowstone. You can find information about my new employer at http://www.yellowstoneassociation.org.
Amy Renfranz is a North Carolina-certified environmental educator, certified interpretive guide and a Yellowstone Association Institute-certified naturalist. Have a question? Email Amy at (firstname.lastname@example.org)