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ES Student Profile
Blair Braverman '11
Major: Environmental Policy
Location: Aspen, Colorado
Organization: The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES)
The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies is a non-profit environmental education center located in downtown Aspen, which works in collaboration with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Aspen Skiing Company. Since 1969, ACES has focused on advancing an environmental ethic through providing classes and guided naturalist walks for children and adults, providing wildlife rehabilitation, and serving as a model for sustainable energy use. The center's Naturalist Field School also brings professors from across the country to teach courses on a number of different subjects.
June 7—September 7, 2009
As a summer naturalist intern, I was responsible for conducting and planning education programs, assisting visiting professors in the Naturalist Field School, and leading interpretive natural history hikes throughout Aspen and the surrounding areas, including the Maroon Bells National Park. I was given a great deal of freedom to design programs themselves, and to research and teach about topics that I found to be of value. In researching the history and ecology of the area, I focused in particular on the state of local endangered species and the history of the region's Ute Indians, including the legends attached to specific areas and the uses of wild plants. I created 1-3 hour nature hikes focused on these subjects. I also planned and led day-long children's classes about wetlands, snakes, salamanders, and birds of prey.
Throughout the summer, I served as an assistant instructor for two naturalist field school courses taught by the botanist Janice Huggins, author of the award-winning book Wild at Heart: A Natural History Guide.
Working at ACES allowed me to interact directly with the public to share my love for the environment, and to understand the process and outcomes of environmental education. As a naturalist, I learned a great deal about the natural history of the Aspen area, and loved being able to share that information with people, both with adults and families during guided hikes and with children during the classes I taught. Furthermore, I was able to gain a greater understanding regarding the challenges and rewards involved in running an environmental NGO.
A rainy day at the Maroon Bells wilderness area during the two-week naturalist orientation.
This photo is taken at the naturalist desk on Aspen mountain, between hikes. The sign says "Free guided walks with a naturalist from the Aspen Center from Environmental Studies."
Part of a children's class about snakes. The snakes pictured here are a ball python and a boa constrictor.
Aspen Center for Environmental Studies
100 Puppy Smith St.
Aspen, CO 81611
Supervisor: Jim Kravitz