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Jul 27

New manager wants to find new ways to deliver nature programs throughout the county

Posted on July 27, 2021 at 2:58 PM by Becky Burnside

A longtime Ernie Miller Nature Center staff member has been tapped as JCPRD’s new outdoor education manger.

Andrea Joslin, whose previous title was outdoor education specialist, stepped in the manager’s position effective July 26. She fills a position previously held by Bill McGowan, who retired in late June after 41 years with JCPRD.

“I am confident that under Andrea’s leadership along with her experience and abilities, she will be able to take an already outstanding outdoor education program to the next level,” said Superintendent of Safety and Outdoor Education Terry Anderson.  

Joslin started with JCPRD as a park naturalist in 2003. She was promoted to outdoor education specialist in 2017. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology - environmental issues from Northwest Missouri State University, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Kansas.

“I am very fortunate to have a “dream job” sharing the outdoors, nature, and history with the public,” Joslin said. “The outdoor education manager position allows me to continue my passion by supporting the front-line staff who provide these programs and advance my career at the same time. I feel that my 18 plus years of outdoor education experience allows me to fully support the staff within the department by understanding all aspects of the programs.  Several years ago I could see that the outdoor education manager position would be a possible advancement for me and made it a goal for me to achieve.  Since then, I have worked hard to take on leadership opportunities, earn my master’s in public administration, and learn about the duties of the position.”

Among the awards Joslin has received are: JCPRD Park Safety and Interpretation Division Fourth Quarter Employee Award 2004, the JCPRD Park Safety and Interpretation Division Employee of the Year Award in 2006, the National Association for Interpretation Region 6 Outstanding New Interpreter Award in 2007, and the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education’s Rising Star Award 2008.

During her time with JCPRD, Joslin said she is proudest of “the ability to make a difference in the lives of people and their impact on this world.  It is a privilege to witness the impacts our programs have made on people and their views of the natural world.  I have witnessed children grow up in our programs, come back to volunteer or visit, and sometimes even work for us.”

Joslin sees the people she works with as her division’s greatest strength.

“The division which includes Ernie Miller Nature Center, TimberRidge Adventure Center, and the Johnson County Park Police is made of a team of truly passionate, hard-working, and dedicated staff,” she said. “Our team understands the aspects of teamwork and the value of celebrating our individual strengths and personalities which allows us to offer very creative and innovative programs.  It is a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by professionals who are passionate about what they do for a living.  We do not take for granted that we have amazing jobs and love sharing our passion with the public.” 

Meeting the continuous and growing demand for services is the biggest challenge Joslin sees in the future, and she has some goals in that area.  

“The outdoor education programs are very popular and have seen tremendous growth over the years,” she said. “We truly appreciate that the public values our programs, but need to find more ways to meet the demand for services. I would like to see the outdoor education department grow its services to provide programs in more of our Johnson County parks. The county has so many wonderful parks with resources that we can interpret.  To achieve this, I would like us to partner with more JCPRD departments. I would also like us to mentor growing professionals by training more part-time staff and volunteers to help deliver our widely-demanded programs.”