What do you do?
Jamie Bequette

     Where do you work and what is your title?
        I’m the supervisor of the Bear Creek Nature Center. It’s an education center where all ages can connect with nature through outdoor experiences and nature-related programming.

      What do you do there and/or what are you responsible for?
       With a full-time staff of two, I wear many hats. I lead programs of all types, schedule events, fundraise, supervise employees and volunteers and construct exhibits, among a variety of duties to keep things going and working efficiently.

      How long have you been doing this kind of work (total)? How long on the Westside?
      I’ve been at the Bear Creek Nature Center and working on the Westside for over four years. However I’ve been working in the parks, interpretation and recreation business for over 16 years.

      What do you like best about it (other than quitting time)?
        Anyone that I talk to about what I do exclaims, “You must have the best job!” That’s pretty close to accurate. I love that I am able to step outside into nature for “work” and that there is equal time inside and out of doors. I literally take people on hikes for work; it sure beats a cubicle.

      If you could change one thing (other than pay), what would it be?
       I always want more permanent staff. We are able to hire one 6-month seasonal staff person, adding us up to three employees during a portion of the year, but it’s never enough. We have a phenomenal pool of volunteers who are constantly helping with programs; however, it always feels short-staffed for what we provide to the public.

      What part of your work did your training/education never prepare you for?
       My degree is in parks, recreation and tourism. You’ll hear time and time again that parks are underfunded, but you don’t understand the struggle until you have to worry about always raising money to keep things afloat.

      What makes working on the Westside special?
       The saying holds true, “the Westside is the best side.” I’ve lived in other areas of town and nothing beats it here. There’s more culture, sense of community, neighbors acting as neighbors and a smaller-town feel.

      “What do you do?” is a regular feature in the Westside Pioneer, geared for people who have interesting jobs on the Westside but don't necessarily live here. If you or someone you know seems like a good fit for this column, please give us a call at 471-6776 or e-mail editor@westsidepioneer.com.

(Posted 9/21/15; Opinion: What Do You Do)