UMBERLAND — He’s dwelling his dream, near the place he grew up.
“I dreamed of being a zookeeper as a baby,” recalled Wyatt Flood. “I knew I used to be concerned about animals from the beginning. We had at all times had a small farm with goats, horses, and rabbits, and even had a pig at one level. My first curiosity was both mammals or amphibians. Me, my household, and pals would spend many days going to zoos or exploring the woods looking for frogs, salamanders, and different wildlife. I nonetheless have a khaki safari shirt signed by Jack Hanna from certainly one of many visits to the Columbus Zoo.”
“I additionally spent a good period of time at The Wilds rising up,” he added, “occurring excursions and even staying on the camp I now assist run with our sixth grade science class. I met a number of the educators and knew I wished to be in a associated subject.”
In the present day, Flood is the coordinator of on-site packages at The Wilds.
“I assist to coordinate all of our on-site instructional packages,” he defined, “similar to Wildecamp (our residential summer season camp), in addition to the college and scout packages we provide within the shoulder spring and fall seasons. I guarantee all of the packages run easily, help my workers who make the packages potential, and work with different crew members to plan and execute them.”
Flood, 24, grew up close to The Wilds in Sarahsville.
“I used to be a Shenandoah Zep from kindergarten by way of sophomore 12 months of highschool,” he mentioned. “Junior 12 months, I made a decision to strive my hand at pure useful resource conservation at our native technical college, Mid-East Profession and Know-how Facilities in Zanesville. After I graduated in 2017, I knew I wished to work round animals, and I loved educating individuals however wasn’t fairly positive what course I wished to go. I took a 12 months earlier than enrolling in faculty, working at Wolf Run State Park earlier than touchdown at Hocking Faculty in Nelsonville. I actually got here into my very own throughout this time honing my expertise as an out of doors educator and discovering my love and keenness for birds. Hocking’s hands-on strategy to educating pure sources gave me many instruments to dive into the world of pure sources.
“My time at The Wilds began in 2015 as a meals service crew member — my first actual job,” he continued. “I then returned in 2019 whereas attending Hocking Faculty in my first paid out of doors training place as a camp counselor at Wildecamp. After that, I used to be hooked.
“I spent the subsequent few years,” he added, “coming again to The Wilds in numerous seasonal capacities within the training division, in addition to substitute educating and gaining extra expertise in out of doors training roles at different services. Within the zoo/pure useful resource world, there’s plenty of transferring round and seasonal work that often have to be carried out earlier than touchdown a full-time place. It may be laborious not having set roots, however the work is price it.”
Danny Lough is director of conservation training and engagement at The Wilds.
“Wyatt has been an actual asset to the crew at The Wilds,” assessed Lough. “Together with his expertise, management expertise, clear communication, and constructive perspective, we not solely had an extremely profitable summer season camp with over 300 campers however are additionally going to be rising our on-site program choices.”
“This work is certainly from the guts,” Flood responded. “There are some lengthy, sizzling, bug-filled days, however as quickly as I see a visitor making a reference to nature, all of the laborious work is price it. We’d like everybody to concentrate on the challenges the dwelling organisms round us face and methods we may help them. I very a lot imagine that people profit a lot from being out in nature and making these connections. It’s also a option to pay ahead all the academics, educators, and everybody who has helped me join with and revel in nature.”
The Wilds is positioned at 14000 Worldwide Street in Cumberland. For extra info, name 740-638-5030 or go surfing www.thewilds.org.