Out of My Comfort Zone

January 26, 2022
A trail in the forest

by Cody Howard, 2021 Marketing & Development Intern

I’ll be completely honest, when I started working here, I knew very little-if anything-about nature. 

I understood the very basics of animal classification and behavior, and my knowledge of plant life was even more limited.  Nature had always been something that had sparked my interest, but I had never taken the time to really pursue it as a passion.

When I applied for—and eventually accepted—my role with the Cincinnati Nature Center, I wasn’t too sure what to expect.  I knew I would receive valuable work experience and that it would be a flexible job that would work well with my school schedule. 

But I had no idea just how much I would learn, not just from a professional standpoint but from an environmental one as well.

A lighted trail at Light in the Forest

Through working on projects, through conversations with coworkers, and through simply observing while out on the trails, I feel like I have learned a lot about nature over the past several months. 

Prior to this position, I had no idea deer changed colors along with the seasons, or that there were spiders that could not spin webs.  I had no idea that those weird web things high up in the trees were actually spun by caterpillars, or that there was such a thing as a World Soil Day.  And I had no idea just how much I would end up appreciating this place, along with its people.

Not only can I say I have learned quite a bit, but I can also say I enjoyed my time here at the Nature Center.  The people, both staff and guests, were always warm and welcoming.  The atmosphere was productive and energetic, yet also laid back.  If I ever felt burnt out while working on my laptop, I could simply step outside and take a hike.  Even working Light In The Forest, as hectic as it could sometimes be, felt more like a refreshing nighttime excursion than anything.

Whitetail deer in winter

Having graduated college less than two weeks ago, I’m not quite sure yet where my career will take me.  What I am sure of is that my time with the Nature Center will stick with me as I move on to what’s next.  No matter where I am or what I might be doing, I am certainly looking forward to continuing to connect with nature like never before.