by Carol Grady
Over the summer of 2017, I have been interning at the Anne Kolb Nature Center and it has been a wonderful learning experience! The Anne Kolb Nature Center is a mangrove estuary located in Broward County, Florida. The park was named after Anne Kolb, who was the first women to be elected to the Broward County Commission, as well as an enthusiastic environmentalist. When the county began to develop and become urbanized, Kolb insisted that the mangrove estuary was an unique environment that deserved to be saved. Now, the Nature Center named in her honor is home to a variety of plant and animal species that otherwise would not have a home without the conservation efforts of the park, as well as an indoor exhibit hall where visitors are able to view and learn about some of the species that are located inside of the park.
During my time interning, no two days have been the same. On some rainy days the park is slow, and I will stay in the exhibit hall to greet guests and show them around. Other days are set aside for taking inventory of aquarium supplies as well as aquarium maintenance and aquarium feedings.
However, some of my favorite days are when school, or camp groups come to visit. Usually they are groups of children anywhere between 4 and 13 years old that come with their teachers or camp counselors to take a tour of the park and the exhibit hall. On these days I get to act as an interpretive tour guide and take the children on nature hikes, or walk them up the observation tower, or show them some of the crabs and snails that live in the park up close, or sometimes even bring out some of the sea urchins, and sea stars, or horseshoe crabs that live in the exhibit hall’s touch tank. It is rewarding seeing children get excited to learn about the different plants and animals that live in the park, and knowing that at least some of them went home having a deeper appreciation for a small part of the natural world.