Jana Opperman

It wasn’t a single person who inspired me to work for protecting the environment-it was a life experience. I decided I wanted to become a naturalist/environmental educator when I was at a summer environmental camp run by the State. I was always an outdoor person, my Mother encouraged my activities outdoors, she even taught me how to take water samples and test them for DO and other chemicals and identify the insect larvae under the rocks in streams. We went camping across country several times and when visiting State and National Parks I used to “interview” park rangers on how they got their job, what schools they went to and how they developed their experiences. I was a naturalist after college but then there was a science teacher shortage and they increased teacher starting salaries to $18,000(! I went into education for the money!!!) a year, I did the math and got a masters degree, and taught “formally” (environmental education is a bit less formal than what goes on in the classroom) for 12 years, now I work for the state “teaching” in another way. I still never loose an educational moment where ever I am…