Lots of ELK and Moose

This week, my work week started on a Sunday. This morning we left our Intermountain Regional Office to go spend a few days at the Colorado State University (CSU) Mountain Campus, to train Urban Rangers though the non-profit organization of Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK). This was the first time I had ever heard about this organization, so over the course of these three days I learned a lot!

Although trainings are typically serious, this training was 99% fun! Since there were Urban Rangers new to the program and some returning, there was some team building to do to get ready for the summer. At the CSU Mountain Campus they have high ropes and low rope courses that provided lots of fun team building. One activity that I specifically liked was a team builder that really tested our patience and team work! The objective was to build a certain object by only using a hook that every team member is holding on to by a string. That may not sound so complicated, but my gosh it was more difficult than it seems. It may have taken us forever to get the pieces balanced, and several tries at that, but over all it was a great way to see everyone’s leadership and coming to work together.

Even though I may have just started my internship at National Park Service and am just now learning about ELK program, I couldn’t help but feel encouraged by the end of the three days. I was super inspired by all the Urban Rangers, new or returning, because although they all came from different walks of life and backgrounds they all enjoy the outdoors and want to inspire others. Somewhere in that walk of life they were given the opportunity to explore the outdoors and find enjoyment in it. They have taken that ‘first time’ experience and carried that around with them to inspire younger generations. The purpose of the Urban Rangers is to work clinics and trips that they take kids on to hopefully ignite the spark in them to go outdoors more. Their specific target are those kids who live in urban settings or cities, underrepresented youth, and those who normally don’t have the chance or are unaware of the opportunities. The reason why I left this trip so inspired and touched is because these young adults remind me of why I chose my degree. The importance of wanting to get a more diverse population outdoors is something that I hope to achieve someday. Programs and people like this that give me the faith to continue the work I do and strive for doing better! Everyone deserves to enjoy the outdoors!

 

Not only did I get to hang out with the ELK kids, but did I mention there were moose too?

This was the first moose seen on the trip, within the first couples hours of being on campus!

This was the first male moose we saw on campus, and the first bull moose I have ever seen my whole life!

                   

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