I invite you to close your eyes and think about a positive experience that you had in nature. Most likely, these moments have shaped your love and appreciation for the outdoors. They are what make someone an advocate for the conservation of land, animals, and the earth. For me, a pivotal memory is getting up early on weekend mornings to stuff my backpack full of stuffed animals and a long length of rope. I would race to the woods, looking for a shallow ravine and throw the animals to the bottom. I would then tie my rope to a nearby tree and rappel down to save them. Looking back, my connection to nature was not about the plants, animals, or land but about the freedom and adventure that those things represented. Those feelings haven’t faded, and when my daughter wants to go on a hike, I still get a tingle of excitement knowing that together we are going on a great adventure out in nature. I hope to have many new adventures in Darke County, and I invite you and your family to come along. Together, we have the opportunity to impact the world around us, one extraordinary experience at a time.
My name is Kathi McQueen, and I feel privileged that I have been hired to be your Darke County Park District Volunteer Coordinator/Naturalist. My life has been a long series of twists and turns, taking me from the farmland of Adams County, Ohio to Middletown, Ohio where I currently reside with my husband, Tony, and 4 year old daughter, Kylie. After working for 15 years in finance, I started college in 2006 to pursue a career that I was passionate about. In 2009, I received my associates degree in science from Sinclair Community College, then my bachelor’s degree in biology from Wittenberg University in 2013, followed by a master’s degree in zoology from Miami University in 2015. I started volunteering at Five Rivers MetroParks in 2007, and in 2014 got the opportunity to serve as an AmeriCorps naturalist at the park doing outreach, in-reach, animal care, and volunteer management.
-- Kathi McQueen ~ naturalist/volunteer coordinator