Staff Spotlight: Olivia Smith

By Avery McGaha

For today’s Staff Spotlight, we caught up with Olivia “Liv” Smith!

Q: What is your position at GRP this Summer?
A: Counselor

Q: How many years have you been at GRP?
A: This will be my first year at GRP.

Q: What are you currently doing?
A: I am a senior at Western Illinois University and will be graduating the summer of 2017. My major is RPTA (Recreation, Park, Tourism and Administration) with a minor in Outdoor Leadership. I work part time at a convenience store, as well as a photographer for the school newspaper.

Q: What is your spirit animal and why?
A: My spirit animal is probably a red fox. I would say a red fox because I like to think they are the perfect mix between a cat and dog. Like a cat they are quick, clever and love to relax in the sun; and like a dog because they are very playful and silly.

Q: What are you passionate about?
A: I am very passionate about the outdoors and getting kids introduced to nature at a young age. If I could be barefoot outside at all times I would be. I also believe integrating children with nature is vital in the hopes of developing a generation that is compassionate about conservation in our future years!

Q: What is your favorite thing to do outside?
A: To narrow down my favorite thing to do outside is incredibly difficult! But I would have to say just going on nature walks. It doesn’t have to be anything like a strenuous hike or climb (which are fun too), but just exploring the woods with some friends and discovering its hidden gems!

Q: Tell us about your favorite trip/experience.
A: My favorite trip would have to be while I was completing my minor for Outdoor Leadership. I went on a four month expedition called ECOEE (Environmental, Conservation, Outdoor Education, Expedition) which consisted of three back-country backpacking trips, and traveling to National Parks. Though my favorite part of the trip was probably when we were sea kayaking for a week in Baja de Mexico. I got the chance to swim with several whale sharks and visit sea lion rookeries. It was amazing.

Q: Why did you choose to come to GRP this summer?
A: I chose GRP because I have heard many amazing stories from a former counselor that worked last summer. I wanted to have not only an educational internship, but also one where I could see myself being happy.

Q: What is something interesting that happened to you this year?
A: This year has been quiet for me so far, just school and work really! Coming back from camping for four months to school again has been an interesting change of pace. But this May I will be graduating from college, and I’ll be working here at Green River Preserve in the summer! Then in the fall I hope to go travel to the Badlands and Yosemite. I have a lot to look forward to!

Q: Where is your favorite place to hike?
A: My favorite place to hike would have to be the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Its not a regular thing that I get to go out to California and hike in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, but I have never seen a landscape more majestic that the peaking mountains and deep valleys than I have there.

We’re always looking to add qualified, enthusiastic, and adventurous people to our team!
Know someone who would make a great Counselor or Mentor? Send them our way!