14 October 2021

A Valued Homecoming

Written by: Kelsey Carapia

These past few weeks working with the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit has been quite the homecoming for me. Eight years ago, I relocated to the Tahoe basin in hopes of practicing what I preach by making my personal passion a reality: Fostering a love for the outdoors among students through awareness and appreciation for their diverse community; causing them to act more consciously. Upon moving, I immediately sought out volunteer opportunities offered by varying local organizations and agencies that aligned with my passion and quickly discovered the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit’s ‘Ski With A Ranger’ program; a beautiful blend of the recreation, conservation, and education experience that I was looking forward after a few winter seasons of volunteering with Ski With A Ranger and becoming familiar with the Conservation Education team at Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, I was informed of a summer internship with the Great Basin Institute and got hired working for Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit’s ‘Hike With A Ranger’ program. Over the years, my tenure as a volunteer and intern working with the Conservation Education team at Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit has solidified that working with students outdoors is my calling; therefore, furthering my professional development as an outdoor educator and interest in exploring another intern opportunity provided by the Hispanic Access Foundation/MANO Project as a Resource Assistant with Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. Hispanic Access Foundation/MANO Project values how we all can get to know each other, ourselves and students for the complexity and beauty that we each can offer, making it an organization I found very inviting.

My current tenure as a Resource Assistant has already allowed me to become engaged in educational outdoor experiences that better connect students to the natural world. Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit works with our South Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition partners to present to all Lake Tahoe Unified School District students at local school sites and parks throughout the school year. Through place-based education, I got to lead a station for Kindergartners at our Wonders of Water Expanded Edition program for K-6th grade students all last week. As my energy can mimic that of a 5 or 6 year old, I had a blast facilitating an interactive water molecule experience for local Kindergartners. Getting to mentor students and empower them to grasp new knowledge through a creative experiential learning environment outside of a traditional classroom was beyond fulfilling for me. I have found that it takes an empathetic ear, some patience and an understanding that experience, reflection and failure are the best way to learn for diverse students of all ages; I found much value in getting to lead the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit’s station at the Wonders of Water Expanded Edition program. 

Agency: U.S Forest Service

Program: Resource Assistant Program (RAP)

Location: Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit

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Hispanic Access Foundation connects Latinos and others with partners and opportunities to improve lives and create an equitable society.

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