Meet White Wolf

Posted by on May 13, 2015 in Naturalist Blog | 0 comments

Sean Gill Pic 3Hi, my name is Sean Gill. I am a naturalist intern, which means that I am out of college with a degree, and this is my first year as a naturalist. However, at Shady Creek, I don’t go by Sean – I go by White Wolf. I’ve come to consider it my second identity, my alter ego, if you will. Strangely though, my alter ego isn’t quite what I expected it to be, which also sums up my experience at Shady Creek as an intern. I never thought I would have done so much in these last 9 months that I have, and I’ve grown more than I expected. That growth didn’t start here, but it has certainly sped up when I started working. All in all, if I had to sum up my past year at Shady Creek in one word, I would choose “growth”.

One way I’ve grown is how I treat myself and act around others. I’ve always been a very self-conscious person, worrying what others might think of me and how I act, because I have never been someone who would fit in the box of “normal.” However, these past two years have helped me break past some of those thoughts. I’veSean Gill Pic 2 become very close to people who love me for who I am as a whole, and I can be who I want to be around them. At Shady Creek, I’ve learned to be more comfortable with myself, but also when I’m around other people. Yeti and Quail do a great job of promoting that atmosphere here. I’ve known Yeti for a few years now, since he hired me to be a summer camp counselor when I was 19 or so, and he’s told me the difference between the me back then and the me now is mind blowing in just self-confidence alone. I owe a lot to them, because they themselves are quirky people who love being who they want to be, and share that with others, serving as great role models. I want to be like that too, and I know that I’ve got some work to do, but I’ve already made a lot of progress.

Sean Gill Pic 1Speaking of progress; I’ve also grown a lot professionally in just these 9 months. I bet if I could look at one of my first classes I ever taught, and compared to now, I would just think, “Oh my goodness, what was I thinking back then???” I’ve learned a good deal about classroom management, trying to awaken that spark of wonder, and just teaching in general. Shady Creek has given me a lot of resources to make that possible. All of the senior staff is happy to help, offering helpful advice, watching our classes, and sitting down with us to ask the hard questions and make the tough decisions of making our classes. Personally, I think they enjoy watching new naturalists grow into their own even more than teaching kids. Shady Creek has also offered me one other thing professionally; a desired career path. I’ve come to realize that I want to make a career in environmental education, whether being a naturalist of beyond. Either way, I want to keep teaching and educating the world about the beauty of nature, giving them that connection and awakening that desire to learn. I have some tools now, but I still have a long way to go to become as good as people like Quail, Ibis, Yeti, or the rest of the senior staff. Still, I have a start, and a great start at that, one that I hope will serve me in years to come.

This brings me to the final part of my post. I confess, Shady Creek was never a permanent thing for me – there’s so much out there to do and explore, and I want to go out and find it all. However, I am so grateful that this is where I started. The people I’ve met have been incredible, helping to build me up and keep me going. They are my family now, even though we aren’t bound by blood, and I hope those bonds last a lifetime. I have tools that make me a better teacher and a better person, tools that will be the basis of what I do. In Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, there’s a saying that goes, “the road goes ever on and on, down from the doorway where it began.” Well, Shady Creek is my doorway, and the road is before my feet, a road that I must walk on. I may move on, but I carry this home with me, in my heart, and no matter where my road takes me, that doorway of Shady Creek will always be at the beginning. A beginning I will never forget.

– White Wolf, inter naturalist at Shady Creek Outdoor School

Leave a Reply