My job history includes trapping rodents and collecting blood samples through ocular bleeding (from around the eye) and trapping black bears.
sarah whitmire // april 5th, 2019
Name: Sarah Whitmire

How long have you been in Greenville?
Eight years.

Most interesting fact about you: My job history includes trapping rodents and collecting blood samples through ocular bleeding (from around the eye) and trapping black bears.

Your background: I grew up in Conyers, GA running around with the 4 Gaddy brothers who lived across the street. We spent many hours in the woods behind our neighborhood and ever since I can remember I have had a lifelong love affair with animals.

I played saxophone in school and even some in college. I still get more excited about the marching band than the football game. My other hidden talent is tap dancing. I took lessons for about 12 years. It's been a while since I put my tap shoes on though. I would love to get back into that when I get some more free time on my hands.

I received my bachelor degree from the University of Georgia. I was on track to become a veterinarian until I spent a summer in Alaska working for a Veterinarian. My love for all things outdoors grew that summer but my desire to become a vet waned. I decided to change my major to wildlife biology and graduated in 2005 with the dream of becoming a bear biologist.

I worked a few seasonal field jobs including studying the Hantivirus in New Mexico and tracking the black bear population in Louisiana. In between field jobs I worked as an environmental educator at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, Ga. I had no desire to teach but my seasons at Rock Eagle made me fall in love with kids and teaching in the outdoors.

That newfound interest coupled with an awful season in Louisiana where I watched my car burn to the ground with all of my belongings inside, almost rolled an ATV on top of myself on multiple occasions, and had more encounters with copperheads than I care to remember had me second guessing my chosen field. Pretty sure God was trying to tell me something - black bear biologist was not my thing! So I returned to environmental education and have stayed that course ever since.

I did go back to UGA to get my Masters in Arts of Teaching so that I could try out classroom teaching which is how I came to live in Greenville and where I met my husband. As much as I loved getting to know my students my heart remained in outdoor education. I brought my students to Lake Conestee on field trips and kept telling the educators that if they ever had any openings to please let me know. And what do you know, that actually worked!!

I have been the Director of Education at Lake Conestee Nature Park for the past 4 years. I have been married for 5 years and we have a 4 year old and a 3 month old. Greenville is my forever home now. I love the small city vibe and the proximity to the mountains and the beach. It is a truly wonderful place to raise a family.

Currently reading or watching: Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

Hobby: I am into gardening and am currently learning how to can and preserve food through various methods. I joined the Ladies Homestead Gathering of Greenville County a little over a year ago and they have been amazing mentors for all things related to gardening, canning, and raising our new flock of chickens!

Tagline / Motto: "Love what you do!" I'm am so blessed to have found a career that I love.

Who do you work for? I work for the Conestee Foundation which is the nonprofit group that owns and manages Lake Conestee Nature Park. I am the Director of Education for all the education programs at the park.

What is your day-to-day on the job? During the school year you will find me leading school groups around Lake Conestee Nature Park. I teach them about the ecology of the area, dress them up like beavers, let them eat Sourwood, or help them explore under logs and rocks for cool critters.

How do you think Greenville would describe you in one word? Tired!

How would you describe Greenville in one word? Foodietastic!

Besides residence, where is your favorite Greenville morning hangout?
Grateful Brew

Besides residence, where is your favorite Greenville evening hangout?
I have a 4 year old and a 3 month old. I don't get out that much any more. I do miss The Handlebar though!

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