Nova Clarke '96

Refuge Ranger, Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, US Fish and Wildlife Service
BA, Washington and Lee University

When I arrived at W&L, I had no intention of becoming a geology major but Intro to Geology ended up being my required science course. Sophomore year, I took a spring term field-mapping class combined with a trip out west with Professors Spencer and Schwab. During that trip I experienced a brand new landscape that I never imagined that I would end up working and living in. Over 20 years later, having bounced around the country, I still have a picture I took on that trip of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison on my office wall. I was fortunate enough to work there as well as several other western parks including Canyonlands, Bryce, Rainbow Bridge, and Redwoods as a ranger with the National Park Service. Currently I work for US Fish and Wildlife but my job remains the same, to help visitors, like I was back then, understand and connect with what they are seeing including the role of geology in shaping the landscape. The most rewarding part of my job is that "ah-ha" moment when a visitor makes a connection to where we are and I know I have contributed to their enjoyment and knowledge. I can't imagine doing anything else and it's all because of geology classes.

Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge