Our Education Specialist keeps our calendars full with visiting school groups and is an integral part of engaging with students in nature. Get to know Gabi in our employee spotlight series.
How long have you worked at AFF?
I was a part time educator for about three and a half years, and I have been a full time educator for almost a year.
What do you do at AFF?
I am an Education Specialist, focusing on coordinating the Bridging the Watershed program. I also work with the rest of the education team to develop and provide environmental programming to groups of all ages.
What did you do before coming to AFF?
I have worn many hats! I studied Marine Ecology and Environmental Education in college. I worked in the disabilities department at the College of Southern Maryland, where I also taught biology and student success. Additionally, I managed the veterinary clinic at the Humane Society of Charles County and served in the Peace Corps as an Environmental Education Volunteer in Paraguay, South America.
Why do you love working at AFF?
Every day is different! I might teach the same programs, but there’s always something new to notice or a student brings a new perspective. I also love how students (and adults) get so excited about seeing a bird or a bug or the farm animals. Their enthusiasm is awesome!
What is your favorite spot on the property?
This is a tough question. The boardwalk on the river is the most spectacular, and watching the seasons and wildlife change is so much fun. I also love the wet meadow because it encapsulates so many different habitats in one small place. The Max North Trail is also at the top of my list. I always find cool plants or fungi on the hike, and it’s the best place to look for macroinvertebrates in the creek. I’m not sure I can choose my favorite spot!
What do you do in your free time away from AFF?
I love to go out nature-watching pretty much anywhere and I love taking pictures of the neat things I see. I also enjoy spending time with my clowder of cats.
What is your favorite outdoor activity?
My favorite thing to do is diving and snorkeling in the coral reef. There’s so much to see under the water! I especially love the Christmas tree worm!
What do you feel it’s so important to educate others about the environment?
So many people spend their time inside or stuck to their devices and don’t pay attention to the natural world. We depend on the environment to keep us alive and healthy, and the environment depends on us to protect it so all life can benefit. If we don’t understand and appreciate what is going on around us, we can’t work to save it for future generations. Plus, it’s great to learn about all the amazing things they can see and do outside!