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Cleveland Metroparks Blog

You Know You Work at Cleveland Metroparks When:

Posted: 1/24/2014
Posted By: Alyssa Cook-Alexander

Telling someone you work for Cleveland Metroparks almost always leads to more questions. In the time since I’ve started working here, people always want to know more about what it’s like to for work for the oldest park district in Ohio. It’s safe to say in year and half I’ve been working here, I’ve become a Cleveland Metroparks fangirl. 

If you are not familiar with the term fangirl, it’s usually applied to people heavily involved in nerd culture, like Trekkies and Star Wars fans. But instead of getting excited about a new movie or comic book, I get really excited about trees.
Truly, this a post that employees can identify with the most, but hopefully even the average park visitor will now understand how immersed in Cleveland Metroparks culture each employee is.

1. You become an amateur naturalist

Real deal naturalists are not in short supply around the Park District and they are all brilliant founts of knowledge. Honestly, there are very few questions they can’t answer about nature in Northeast Ohio. Inevitably, some of that knowledge rubs off on the rest of us. Like, I couldn’t in good conscience kill a wasp that flew in my room, because I indentified it as a blue mud dauber, a non-aggressive wasp that preys on black widows. I know more about the history of our founder William Stinchcomb than I know about the history of my own family history. (Fun Fact: He grew up down the street from the Zoo and Brookside Reservation in Old Brooklyn.) When you collect information for social media posts or emails, it tends to stick around longer than black-capped chickadees. 

Those “jumpy, leaf things” you see in summer aren’t crickets or grasshoppers, they are katydids.
Even though that's how I described it when I took this picture.

2. You are an unofficial expert on all things related to Cleveland Metroparks

Whether I work out of North Chagrin Nature Center or work at the Zoo, people will undeniably ask me about some aspect of Cleveland Metroparks that I am not familiar with. Sometimes it will have to do with a trail clear across the city, or if I know when summer camp registration begins. I may not know the answer, but I know someone who does.

3. Your internal GPS is centered on park locations

“Marc’s is down the street from Brecksville Reservation.” “Keep driving straight, you’ll pass Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation and Washington Reservation.” “Oh, you’re not too far from Squire’s Castle.” I really talk like this. There are no cardinal directions, just reservations and parks. It’s not uncommon for me to point out park locations while driving around. The Emerald Necklace wraps all around Cleveland and navigating the Park District is like navigating the whole of Cleveland. 

How Northeast Ohio looks to me

4. You plug programs or nature centers in everyday conversation

Part of working for the Marketing Department is I am knowledgeable about most of the programs around the Park District. On several occasions I’ve asked someone if they have ever gone fishing in Rocky River Reservation or Wallace Lake. Kids are home from school? Let me tell you about all the programs at the nearest nature center, or maybe you should consider signing up for Emerald Necklace Camp. If you really like this type of program, you should really look in the Emerald Necklace or check out our Events Calendar to see when we will be doing another one.

5. You are crazy about conservation

I have recently been on a recycling/conservation kick. The City of Cleveland is starting to make recycling accessible in my neighborhood, by providing cans and pick up dates for residents.  Since then, I’ve been in spearheading recycling in the household and making myself more accountable for the waste I put out. It’s should be said recycling does not always equal conservation, but I do believe conservation starts in the home. By returning my plastic bags to the store and using a water bottle every day, I’m minimizing the amount of plastic that pollutes local bodies of water. I even repurpose some non-recyclable plastics like old Starbucks gift cards into jewelry. Small changes like these make it easier to protect wildlife, keep our water cleaner and make more steps to sustainable living. Visit Emerald Necklace Endowment Fund and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Conservation to learn more about local and global conservation efforts and to make a donation.


1/27/2014 3:14:40 AM by Maggie Chernick
Well...crud...I've missed my calling. Every one applies to me, but I'm not an employee.
1/27/2014 12:49:13 AM by Denise Hatala
Awesome blog entry! Thanks for sharing!
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