Meet Education Assistant Angela DesVeaux
Coastal Rivers education programs will now have an even greater reach, thanks to the recent hiring of Education Assistant Angela DesVeaux. Angela will support our much-loved Education Director Sarah Gladu by coordinating Camp Mummichog, Coastal Rivers’ summer nature day camp, as well as by teaching school groups and public programs.
In the past 10 years, participation in the education program has quadrupled to nearly 4,000 youth and adults in a year. In order to create more teaching capacity and physical space for this vital program, Coastal Rivers (formerly DRA) initiated a capital campaign in 2015. Thanks to the support of generous donors to the Where the Land and River Meet capital campaign, Coastal Rivers was able to move its headquarters to Round Top Farm in April 2019, thus freeing up the Nature Center at Salt Bay Farm for use as a full-time year-round educational hub, and to hire Angela on a part-time basis.
Angela’s position requires not only the ability to communicate effectively with people of all ages and abilities, but also a substantial knowledge of natural history. Coastal Rivers education programs cover a wide range of natural and cultural topics, including Wabanaki heritage, raising oysters, native plants, mitigating invasive species, wildlife adaptations, plant identification, outdoor living skills, water quality, and more.
Fortunately for Coastal Rivers, Angela comes to us with both these skills. A graduate of Willamette University in Oregon, she majored in both Anthropology and Biology. Her previous related experience includes serving with AmeriCorps as a Conservation Crew member, acting as an Urban Forestry Unit intern, canvassing for The Nature Conservancy, and volunteering with an equine therapy program.
What brings Angela to Maine? As she tells it, she and her partner decided to take a risk and move to Maine from Oregon last spring. They counted on finding work once they arrived. While searching for the right job, Angela stumbled upon Coastal Rivers.
“What initially drew my attention to Coastal Rivers was the mission statement,” Angela recalls, “specifically the part about how we are ‘dedicated to preserving and promoting the natural, cultural, and historical heritage of the Damariscotta-Pemaquid region.’
“When I was in college, the class that resonated the most with me was called Indigenous Peoples, Human Rights, and the Environment, which stressed the importance not only of biodiversity but biocultural diversity, and how in order to protect our environment, we have to learn from the indigenous peoples that have successfully done so for thousands of years. Coastal Rivers was the first, and only organization (to date) that I have found that seems to prioritize both equally. The connection between humans and the natural world has always been of big interest to me, ultimately leading me to my to majors in school, Anthropology and Biology.”
According to Sarah Gladu, Angela has already made herself indispensable to the program. “She relates really well to the kids, getting to know them as individuals, assessing ‘where they’re at’ and understanding their needs.'” This fall, Angela is assisting with delivery of the Four Winds Nature Program at Great Salt Bay School and teaching school groups at the Nature Center.
We count ourselves very lucky to have Angela on our team. We hope you will have a chance to meet her soon, and welcome her to Coastal Rivers!