Coming Full Circle
Teatown has a funny way of luring people back. As an educational organization, we pride ourselves on inspiring children, teens, and young adults to be the environmental stewards of the future. Occasionally, students come back later in life to pursue internships or careers with us. This is the case with Natalie Kyvik, our Meadow Management Crew Leader, and one-time summer camp counselor.
“I worked as a camp counselor at Teatown in 2019, and I absolutely loved the staff, children, and preserve,” Natalie said. “It was a great experience and I always had it in the back of my mind to come back.”
Natalie led a variety of camp sessions during her summer here, and she discussed how she thoroughly enjoyed traversing the outdoors with the teenage groups, hiking places in the Lower Hudson Valley like Anthony’s Nose and Clarence Fahnestock State Park.
Nowadays, she is dealing with something a bit different than energetic children: invasive plant species. While working with the AmeriCorps Invasive Strike Force, she enjoyed the work and began to pursue whatever field positions came her way. While the work is fulfilling, it does come with occasional challenges. One species has been particularly problematic for her and her crew: oriental photinia.
“There’s whole hedgerows of it at Cliffdale Farm,” Natalie exclaimed. “It’s creating an abrupt zone between meadows and forests.” Instead of trying to use herbicide or controlled burn, the crew has focused on thinning out the area and planting native species to try and outcompete this troublesome plant.
Though the work can be challenging, Natalie wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I love what I do because I can see the fruits of my labor on a daily basis. By actively restoring and preserving a space, I am creating a healthy habitat, and I love to see a thriving ecosystem.”
Natalie initially wanted to be a vet as a child, but her passion for environmental conservation led her to focus on environmental science as a student. She fell in love with her studies, which has now led her to Teatown’s trails once again.
“I know how lucky I am to have the opportunities I’ve been given,” she said. “I’ve been able to call upon all my life skills in this role, and I’m excited to see where this takes me.”
About the Author
Shane Frasier, Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Shane started working at Teatown in November of 2020 and hails from Saratoga Springs, NY. As an avid hiker, he has scaled many of the high peaks in the Adirondacks and loves the outdoors.