Terry Wise
Rifle, CO Colorado

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September 5, 2012
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Got any hidden talents?

Do you have hidden talents in science? Public relations? Working with children? Would you like to determine if you have those talents? Colorado Parks and Wildlife has an opportunity for you, if you like to spend time in the great outdoors and care about our environment and protecting our natural resources.

Volunteer help is needed to increase the public's understanding of conservation and natural resources by serving as a park naturalist. What a great way to earn service learning hours or explore your potential in this field.

The three Colorado State Parks in the Rifle Gap Complex are seeking volunteer park naturalists for the fall and winter months. Volunteers are an integral part of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and provide amazing support by delivering high-quality services to the public well into the future. Benefits not only include developing your hidden talents, you will add to your self-confidence. And, once you volunteer for 48 hours, you will earn a parks pass to visit any of our 42 state parks. This park pass is transferable to any vehicle as long as you are in the vehicle.

Once my seasonal position ends, I return to volunteer status for the state park system. Over the past few years, I have worked on the education programs for Rifle Gap, written articles for the Colorado Parks and Wildlife newsletter, staffed a special event or two, parked cars and served on several committees at the state level, drafting manuals to establish State Parks Friends' Associations. I have also earned my park pass.

At Rifle Gap, Harvey Gap and Rifle Falls State Parks, naturalists lead hikes, research and create environmental education programs, present programs and answer visitor questions during days and nights. The volunteer naturalists also staff weekend education tables and exhibits at Rifle Falls, greet and answer questions for park visitors or assist at special events.

Volunteer as a park naturalist if you have a passion for interpretation and environmental education. Adults and high school students over the age of 14 can apply. Positions vary from three- to six-hour time slots. Students will need to complete appropriate paperwork for the park system. Volunteers ages 14-17 must also submit a signed parental or guardian approval form.

Or consider making "service to the community" a project for your family. Most of my entire family has been involved in some form or fashion over the years, including my husband, granddaughters, my sister-in-law and niece, my nephew and his friend. I also involve my friends, too. The time is well spent outdoors with your family and friends.

If you are interested in exploring this opportunity or other volunteer opportunities, call Brian Palcer, senior ranger at the Rifle Complex, 625-1607.

Rifle Gap, Rifle Falls and Harvey Gap are managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, created with the merger of Colorado State Parks and Division of Wildlife. The agency manages 42 state parks, all of Colorado's wildlife, more than 300 state wildlife areas and a host of recreational programs. For more, go online to www.parks.state.co.us and http://wildlife.state.co.us.

Terry Wise is the summer season park naturalist and volunteer coordinator for the Rifle Gap State Park Complex.

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The Post Independent Updated Sep 5, 2012 06:00PM Published Sep 5, 2012 05:59PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.