Today: Suzanne Trapp, who manages urban wildlife programs for the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Bloomington.
I generally read nonfiction and like to read books that pertain to what I am working on or the locations I am in. Currently, I am reading two books: in the Twin Cities, “The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Healthier, Happier and More Creative,” by Florence Williams. It relates to my work as urban outreach manager and reminds me how important our work is to the health of metro residents and the next generation of potential conservationists. Up North, “What Should A Clever Moose Eat?” by John Pastor. I spend a lot of time on the North Shore and the Gunflint Trail, and am just fascinated by the biology of that ecosystem.
The growing number and diversity of citizen science projects is especially interesting. I dabble in a number of them. My favorites are iNaturalist (because, despite the misleading title, anyone can use it as both a tool to become familiar with the nature around them AND because it helps to build a database of local observations) and Litterati (because it empowers people to identify the root of their litter problems so that they can take action). It is an exciting time for science.
Completely unrelated to my job is my interest in my German heritage. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until my mother passed away that I became more interested in my roots and reached out to my relatives overseas. Now I follow German Girl in America, a Facebook page, and am an avid fan of “Rick Steves’ Europe” programming on PBS. I continue to work on my German language skills with help from the German American Institute here in the Twin Cities and my cousins in Germany.
I do most of my listening in the car to and from work and during the 5 ½-hour drive Up North to the cabin. I am huge fan of Minnesota Public Radio. My oldest son, who is as adventure educator out West, just introduced me to “The Dirtbag Diaries” podcasts. I thought they were a great way to experience outdoor adventures that would be outside my comfort zone. They were also quite funny, fulfilling my need for stress-relieving laughter.
Travel, with a focus on the nature, is a big priority for me and my family. Having grown up in Florida, I need an annual dose of ocean air and beachcombing. Just last year my husband and I traveled to the Azores for the first time, an archipelago off Portugal where I was born when my father was stationed there in the Air Force. I have been fortunate in my career to represent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in travel to Russia and China, sharing what we have learned in the environmental education and outreach at the refuge.
Hiking, biking and canoeing are my favorite ways to be in nature. I hope to someday hike the entire Cinque Terre in Italy. We did one day’s section several years back and fell in love with the scenery along the coast. This year my husband and I plan to start the Superior Hiking Trail over a series of long weekends.
I am also a gardener with a preference for native plant landscaping that benefits our native bees and monarch butterflies. I added a honeybee hive to my backyard just last year with help from the University of Minnesota’s Bee Lab.