A few years ago, Iris Estes’ shyness served her well. After all, it didn’t matter to her because she didn’t have to give speeches or talk to groups.
Then Estes landed a job on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Central Arizona as a customer relations specialist. That was the easy part. Her new boss split her duties, adding conservation education coordinator as part of her work. That meant developing and gaining support for the forest’s first formal conservation education program, especially programs for children.
“I guess getting this job and being at the front desk has made me be more outgoing and more of a people person,” she said. “And that’s a good thing. I’m really enjoying it now.”
Estes’ supervisors have said she worked tirelessly to gain community support for a conservation education program. In fact, she grew the initiative from an idea and no budget in 2007 to one with 101 programs and 5,000 participants last year.
See what else Estes has to say in the Forest Service special feature Faces of the Forest, a bi-weekly feature by the Office of Communication to showcase the people, places and professions within the agency.
The debut of Faces of the Forest focused on Tim Lydon, a wildlife ranger in the Juneau Ranger District on the Tongass National Forest. Lydon spends days, sometimes weeks, in remote areas to meet the on-the-ground stewardship goals of district’s three wilderness areas that encompass roughly 830,000 acres.
Estes and Lydon are just two of the more than 35,000 employees who ensure the health of the nation’s 193 million acres of forests and grasslands. The series will introduce you to a variety of people and jobs, like the person who studies weather to help shape wildfire fighting techniques and the person who is helping to save a rare bird species.