Last updated: April 10, 2015
My name is Nathan Wooden Knife, and I am an intern/GS-01 at Badlands National Park. I live right outside the park in Interior, SD. I started volunteering for the park 5 seasons ago when I was 12, and this year I finally have a full-time job and get paid. I feel honored to be the first person the park hired in their youth program. I really do love working at the Badlands, and I hope to continue working here until I go off to college in a few years.
I do all sorts of stuff working here. My first year, they obviously didn’t have me do much because I was still pretty young. I mainly helped with junior ranger programs and worked at the visitor information desk. As the years went on I had more responsibilities and things to do. Three seasons ago, two new high school students joined the staff; their names were Jennifer and Kelly. Later in the summer, we all did our first program, which was a fossil talk. I was pretty nervous, but I think it was a success. Over the next few seasons, we all three bonded and became great friends.
Last year is when the intern program really got up and running. Along with Jennifer, Kelly, and I, three other interns were hired. Their names were Dwan, Earl, and Joseph. Joseph and I go to school together at Philip, SD. It was nice to have so many familiar faces, but I was also glad to meet the new interns. The youth program became much more active than previous years, and we did many more things. We went to two search and rescue trainings,and we also went on a camping trip out to Sage Creek Wilderness Area.
This year, we have even more interns. There are 9 interns total, and two teachers were hired to help watch over us and the program. Joseph, Dwan, Earl and I are all returning, and the rest are new. Even though I have only been working for a little over a week, I’ve already had good experiences. Last Tuesday, a few other interns and I had a barbeque for the Montana Conservation Corps, and I really enjoyed it. It was nice to meet all those new people. Last Thursday, we went down to Rockyford School and taught the students about the bison. They were all very eager to learn, which made the experience much more enjoyable.
Although I’ve only worked for a short time so far this year, I have a feeling that this is going to be a very successful and fun-filled summer.
Nathan Wooden Knife, Park Guide and intern