Hello, my name is Erin King and I am one of this year’s AmeriCorps members at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. I am from a small town in Missouri right on the Missouri River. I had a pretty amazing introduction to the natural world through family trips and excursions into my home state’s many parks and waterways. From an early age I was out hiking, canoeing, and exploring all that the Midwest has to offer. This early introduction gave me a love and appreciation for the outdoors, conservation, and environmental education that has stayed with me my whole life.
After I graduated from Truman State University in Northern Missouri, I moved to the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State and took a job as a kayak guide. The Pacific Northwest was totally new to me. I absolutely fell in love with the dramatic landscapes, ocean, and the work. I learned technical guiding and outdoor skills and found out that I really enjoyed sharing my enthusiasm and knowledge of the natural world with my guests.
Then, like many people I jumped around for a while, working and visiting many different places and trying my hand at some different jobs. I worked as a dog trainer, a confectioner in a fancy chocolate shop, and on a trail crew in Texas. I also worked on an alpaca ranch in Alaska, learned some carpentry in Colorado and most recently taught English in Japan. While I was in Japan, I realized that I was really enjoying teaching but that something crucial was missing. And that’s when I found the Maritime Museum! I was instantly drawn in by the seamless combination of learning, nature, and technical skills. The outdoors was my very first classroom and I wholeheartedly believe that it is the most important one for kids and adults alike. I am very excited to be here at the Museum, and learning all the ins and outs of what goes on here. And though it is very different from my childhood river, Lake Champlain is a pretty special place to work every day.