Carlsbad Caverns Selects New Chief of Interpretation and Education
Contact: Bridget Litten, 505.785.3024
Superintendent John Benjamin has named Marie Marek, a 29-year veteran of the National Park Service (NPS), as Chief of Interpretation and Education at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Marek, who will assume her new responsibilities on August 20, succeeds Carolyn Richard who moved on to Grand Teton National Park as their Chief of Interpretation last fall.
“I can’t say enough good things about Marie,” said Benjamin. “She’ll be an excellent addition to our staff. She has extensive experience in interpretive planning and project coordination, which will come in handy during our visitor center rehabilitation.”
Marek has been the Chief of Interpretation and Visitor Services at Nez Perce National Historical Park, headquartered in Idaho, since 1996. Her previous experience includes two other stints at Nez Perce NHP—one as the Spalding unit manager and the other as an interpretive planner. Her career has also taken her to what was the Rocky Mountain Regional Office, Harry S. Truman National Historic Site, Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area, and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. She began her NPS career as a seasonal naturalist, in 1976, at Zion National Park.
“I look forward to learning about the amazing combination of world-class cave and desert resources and the challenges of the construction of a new visitor center and interpretive exhibits, said Marek. “I have spent much of my NPS career either working in new and developing parks or being in on the ground floor of major interpretive developments.”
A Chicago-area native, Marek graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology and ecology. She is an arts and culture enthusiast, and enjoys astronomy and interpreting the night sky, but not necessarily with her cats Nutmeg and Champagne.
Did You Know?
Jim White is the cowboy credited with being the premier explorer of Carlsbad Cavern. He began to explore the cave as a teenager in 1898, using a handmade wire ladder to decend 60 feet into the cave. For more than a decade, he couldn't convince many locals that there was much to Carlsbad Cavern.