Park Technician, Highbanks Metro Park
I’m from Sardinia, a small town east of Cincinnati. Population is about 1500.
Years of Service
I joined Metro Parks in May 2015 as a seasonal maintenance employee at Highbanks. I came back the next two summers as seasonal naturalist then seasonal management intern. In March 2018 I started my current job as park technician at Highbanks.
What I do at Metro Parks
Every day is different. Mondays and Fridays are often taken up with cleaning and litter collection. I like Wednesdays, when we do field mowing (April to October). The rest of the time is taken up with vehicle and equipment maintenance. Once a month, our team of maintenance employees inspects all the trails, looking for hazards such as fallen trees.
What I love most about my job
I like using a chainsaw when we cut up and remove fallen trees on our trails, but most of all I like operating our Backhoe tractor. It’s our biggest tractor! We use the front bucket to scoop up mulch or soil, and the back bucket to dig holes for jobs like planting trees or digging up a broken water line.
My favorite Metro Parks activity
I’m keen on birding, especially at the park closest to where I live, Prairie Oaks. My favorite bird I’ve seen there is a loon, but I’m on the search for a screech owl. People have reported hearing and seeing one there and I can’t wait to see it for myself.
My favorite Metro Parks story that includes a positive visitor interaction
I used to see a gentlemen on our trails two or three times a week and he would often say something to me as he passed by. But it was in a foreign language and I didn’t know what it was. He was always alone. I did some searching and figured that he was most likely speaking Albanian. So I learned how to say “hello” and “goodbye” in Albanian. When I first greeted him in his native language I can’t tell you how happy he looked.
Something to share about creating a positive experience for our visitors
We’re all customer service employees in a sense. I think it’s important that we start all of our interactions with the public on a positive note. A simple smile, saying hello, or asking how their day is going, always helps. Being kind to people is the nicest thing we can do and it helps out visitors feel good. It helps me feel good too, interacting with visitors in a friendly way. And it’s very good for Metro Parks and its reputation.
If I could go anywhere in the world and time and money were not a concern…
I’d like to spend some extended time in England and Scotland to see the sights and experience the history. I was in London in 2015 but it was only for a couple of days. [See Fun Facts below]
Life news to share
I’m getting married in June, right here at Highbanks. My fiancé Sam is Assistant Park Manager at Battelle Darby Creek. We met at a work event in 2017, when both our parks participated in a July 4 parade in Gahanna. It took a while, but we finally started dating in December 2018. We’re going to have our wedding ceremony at the Mansion Shelter and the reception at the Northern Shelter. We’re having a Harry Potter themed wedding. We’re both big fans of the books and the movies.
Fun facts about me and my family
1. I’m a proud Buckeye and was in the OSU Marching Band. In 2015 we were invited to perform on the field at an NFL game in London at their national stadium, Wembley. It was Jacksonville Jaguars against the Buffalo Bills. The Jaguars won! I majored at OSU in animal science and minored in wildlife science and meat science. Meat science! That’s how I learned how to grill!
2. In High School, I was on a horse judging team and we reached the national finals after winning local and state championships. I love horses. I had a couple of horses growing up.
3. I have a wonderful dog, named Chloe. She’s a mix of a great Pyrenees, a Siberian huskie and a border collie. She weighs more than a hundred pounds. I also have two cats, who are brothers, named Simba and Zazu. Ironically, those were the names the shelter had given them, as The Lion King is my favorite movie!
My favorite food and dessert
There’s a food truck called Street Thyme that makes a peanut butter and jelly burger. I love it! The jelly is really a klnd of jalapeno jam. Because I took meat science at OSU, I’m pretty good on the grill and I like to make my own steak and potatoes. I’m working on perfecting my own sausage gravy recipe. For dessert, I like any kind of cheesecake, but all desserts are good!
My favorite entertainment
I’m a huge fan of Elton John. I was at his concert at Value City Arena a couple of weeks ago and I have tickets for his concert at Progressive Field in Cleveland on July 30. My favorite Elton song is “Burn Down the Mission” from the 1970s. I’m learning how to play the piano so I can play Elton’s songs. He even inspired me to take up embroidery. I embroidered his classic album art for “Madman across the Water” on a denim jacket.
If I had just 60 seconds to share why I love working at Metro Parks, I’d say…
It’s a gift to be stewards of so much land and great to work for an organization with our commitment to conservation of natural areas. I love it that we give so many people the opportunity to experience nature. Working for Metro Parks is a very meaningful job.