Megan Allen, BHSU senior Outdoor Education major, teaches a course on boat safety in Chuathbluk, Alaska.
Megan Allen, Black Hills State University senior from Meeteetse, Wyo., majoring in Outdoor Education, was recently selected for a competitive national undergraduate scholarship to the National Association of Interpretation's (NAI) workshop this fall in Portland.

The coordinator of the scholarship program noted that there was intense competition for the six available scholarships. Allen joins recipients from California State University, Humboldt State University, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, as those selected for the conference this fall. Allen attended the Region 5 NAI workshop this spring in Minnesota where she and other students presented a session on "Using GPS to Interpret Nature."

Allen, an outstanding and dedicated student, has gained valuable outdoor education experience throughout her collegiate career. She has spent her summers as a water safety instructor in the Alaskan bush and as a national park service interpreter at Wind Cave National Park. This summer, Allen is working at Schaeffer's Summer Camp in California.

In addition, Allen has worked several years coaching a volleyball team in Belle Fourche and is employed as a workstudy student in the BHSU PE/Health Department. Allen also volunteers for numerous service learning activities. She has led snowshoeing outings with the Outdoor Women of South Dakota, participated in the Collegiate Outdoor Leadership Program activities, volunteered to help with "Bug Camp" which teaches kids about nature, organized and led an orienteering/team building exercise with the vice presidents and managers of Best Buy, International, and is currently on the board of the South Dakota environmental education organization.

Chris McCart, faculty member and coordinator of the Outdoor Education program at BHSU, notes that this is the second time a BHSU has earned this national scholarship. Joshua Roadifer, an outdoor education major, was awarded an NAI national scholarship in 2006. McCart says the successes of these students have helped raise the national awareness and appreciation of the BHSU Outdoor Education program.

“BHSU is known as a leader in interpretation education at the undergraduate level,” McCart says. “BHSU’s strong and growing program develops caring, confident, and competent outdoor leaders.”

Several BHSU outdoor education students are working in the field of interpretation this summer including Lindsay Heinrich and April Oesterling at Wind Cave National Park; Dawn Gibeau at Mt. Rushmore National Memorial; and Josh Peters for Colorado State Parks.

McCart explains the role of an interpreter is often misunderstood.
“Interpreters take the complex and translate it into a language the general public can understand,” McCart says. “Interpreters interact with visitors to help them understand exhibits. Interpreters also visit schools and other places to present education programs associated with cultural or natural history. Interpreters work with natural resource agencies to help communicate their management messages.”

To find out more about the Outdoor Education Program at BHSU call 642-6889 or visit www.BHSU.edu/OutdoorEducation.