On March 16, SUU Outdoors hosted Cheyenne Mitchell, a Utah Master Naturalist and former National Park Service intern, for the latest Outdoor Education Series presentation. Mitchell shared her experience working in national parks and other public lands. As a Utah Master Naturalist, Mitchell has extensive training and certification in the natural sciences, which allows her to share her expertise with the public.
During the speech, Mitchell shared her experience working for the National Park Service via the Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative, a program based out of SUU to help students and recent graduates get involved with various government agencies, including the National Park Service, Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.
“I’ve worked in Zion National Park for three summers, and I’ve done a lot of interpretive programs and educational programs,” said Mitchell. “I’ve done programs on everything from bats to leave-no-trace principles to how the desert works. So I’ve just kind of done everything — all the topics.”
Mitchell also explained that while national parks are great for a number of activities, they are still limited in some ways. It’s important to consider land managed by other agencies for certain adventures.
“The national parks are super awesome, but just because it has a national park label doesn’t mean it’s the best place to go,” said Mitchell. “National parks are great for climbing, hiking, things like that, but if you want to hike with your dog off leash, definitely go to a different agency, like the BLM. We really want to make sure we’re taking care of the environment that we’re in, and some places are more sensitive than others.”
Working in public lands is a difficult job, and Mitchell explained that some of the challenges she faces include finding jobs and being in the field. She encourages anyone struggling to find a job or choose a career to be persistent and patient.
“Stick to your guns. Figure out exactly what you want to do and go hard at it,” said Mitchell. “ Do anything you want to do, and you can do it scared. You can do it scared; you can do it nervous; you can do it. If you have a passion for something, you should totally explore it.”
Mitchell also recommended that anyone with a passion for the outdoors try an IIC program. Those interested in more information should visit the IIC webpage.
Story by: Jacob Horne
Photo by: Colton Johnson, courtesy of the Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative