Stories from the Field

Staff Spotlight: Dylan Meek

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I don’t know if I’d have such a keen interest in what I do now” without experiencing NatureBridge programs as a middle schooler, says current NatureBridge staff member Dylan Meek. As a seventh grader, Dylan and her classmates from Southern California attended an environmental science program at Yosemite Institute (known today as NatureBridge Yosemite). That trip represented Dylan’s first visit to a national park and her first exposure to the field of outdoor education.

“I’d never spent that much time learning outside before,” Dylan recalls. She remembers exploring the Spider Caves (“Everyone was scared entering and then wanted to do it again by the time we exited!”), learning how to use snowshoes and cross-country skis (“It was a ton of fun and a lot less scary than I thought it would be.”), and discovering that science and outdoor recreation were not mutually exclusive fields (“I thought there were people who did things outside and there were scientists who worked inside” prior to her NatureBridge experience). “It was a big deal to spend that much time in a national park as a middle schooler,” Dylan says. “I didn’t fully appreciate at the time how much it would inform my life now and the way I approach education.”


I owe a lot of my interests in outdoor recreation and environmental education to NatureBridge.
Dylan Meek, Lab Steward at NatureBridge Golden Gate

Now on staff as the Lab Steward at NatureBridge Golden Gate, Dylan ensures that the environmental science educators have everything they need “to get the most out of the lab spaces” on campus. The lab spaces include the Intertidal Lab, Skins and Skulls lab, Microscope Lab, and the soon-to-be-open Climate Solutions Lab. Dylan remarks that her position as Lab Steward affords her the opportunity to be continually learning and solving complex problems like “making the lab spaces as up-to-date and as available as possible” and “identifying gaps in our offerings. It’s a great puzzle!”

With her professional background in both education and science, Dylan notes that “I’m really drawn to positions that marry these two interests.” She was attracted to the Lab Steward position at NatureBridge precisely because of that fulfilling combination. Dylan also enjoys the dynamic responsibility of responding to program needs and prioritizing the spaces and activities that school groups look forward to experiencing when they come to campus. Most of all, Dylan says, “What I most like about this position is that the role is ‘steward’—I do see myself as a steward. These spaces aren’t just for me.” 

What I like most about this position is that the role is "steward"—I do see myself as a steward. These spaces aren't just for me.
Dylan Meek, Lab Steward at NatureBridge Golden Gate

Although Dylan has only been on staff with NatureBridge for a few months, she is proud of the important work that NatureBridge does and the opportunities its programs offer. “It’s clear to me that not everyone has access to outdoor spaces,” Dylan says. She hopes that students take away from their NatureBridge experience a feeling of excitement exploring in the outdoors. “I’m really proud of NatureBridge focusing on participants feeling safe in the outdoor environment,” Dylan remarks. In her view, providing students with access to the natural environment and safe, accessible experiences in the national parks is the most important part of NatureBridge’s programs. As for herself as a new staff member, Dylan says that working for NatureBridge has been “an overwhelmingly welcoming experience,” and it’s one that she hopes to share with every person who steps into the lab spaces at Golden Gate.

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