About the Naturalist
On July 31, 2001 the Shelby County Conservation Department began employing a new Naturalist, Christina Roelofs. She works part-time in Shelby County and part-time in Audubon County. Christina grew up in Sibley, Iowa (Northwest part of the state) with her parents, younger brother, and younger sister. She graduated from Sibley-Ocheyedan High School in 1997; then went on to college at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. At Northwestern Christina majored in Biology-Environmental Science and graduated in May 2001. Before coming to Shelby and Audubon Counties she worked for Osceola County's Conservation Department for six years at Willow Creek Nature Center. Christina has always enjoyed outdoor activities such as fishing, camping, and hiking, leading her to choose the Environmental Science major. She loves teaching others about the environment, so she became a naturalist.
What the Naturalist Does
The main focus of the Naturalist's job is environmental education. The Shelby County Conservation Department focuses their environmental education efforts on elementary and middle school aged students. The Naturalists goes into the schools or conducts field trips to teach students about the environment and all of the plants and animals that make up the environment. She also does programs for nursing homes, 4-H, Lions Clubs, Kiwanis Clubs, various other organizations, and the general public. Another aspect of the Naturalist's job is public relations. Christina is in charge of a quarterly newsletter, Nature's Niche, a newsletter for Shelby and Audubon Counties' Conservation Departments. She has written articles for area newspapers and spoken with reporters when news happens. Other parts of the Naturalist's job include Nature Center upkeep and website maintenance.