January 23, 2012

The New Kid on the Block

Lara Miller

I just started my dream job at the Brooker Creek Preserve and I am honored to be joining the Pinellas County Extension team as the new Natural Resource Agent! Pinellas County already feels like home and I could not be more grateful to work at the Preserve where I am constantly surrounded by its beauty.

Growing up in the small coastal town of Jupiter, FL I became fascinated by the environment that surrounded me. As my high school days approached, I was thrilled to discover I was accepted into the Jupiter Environmental Research and Field Studies Academy where my curiosity developed into a passion. After graduating from this four-year program, I attended the University of Florida where I continued my education about the natural world. Through a combined degree program I obtained a Bachelors degree in Natural Resource Conservation and a Masters degree in Forest Resources and Conservation with a focus on environmental education. Aside from academics, my hobbies revolve around sports and the outdoors; I make my fitness a priority and enjoy weekend camping adventures.

Brooker Creek Preserve is the largest natural area in the county, standing at an astounding 8,700 acres. The slightest elevation changes transform the land from dry pine flatwoods to flooded lands of cypress domes and swamps. Each ecosystem supports different types of wildlife from deer to otters and turkeys to water moccasins. The best part is there are trails that lead visitors through each of these ecosystems for an outdoor adventure this is as diverse as it is surprising. Furthermore, with the amazing support of our volunteers and the Friends of Brooker Creek, the Education Center and its state-of-the-art exhibits draws in thousands of visitors every year.

I like to think the best part about living is growing, and I know through my work with the volunteers, the county and the University of Florida, I will be able to go above and beyond in my role as a natural resource extension agent. I am eager to see how my skills and background can contribute to the Preserve and the educational programs which it offers.

Thank you and I look forward to meeting all of you when you come to visit Brooker Creek Preserve!

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