1. What is your role at The Parklands?
As Education Coordinator, I plan and oversee all educational programs within The Parklands including field trips, summer camps, guided hikes, Junior Explorer, and Wednesday Wonders.
2. How does your team keep The Parklands:
- Safe – We keep The Parklands safe by engaging kids in the outdoors while always making safety our number one priority.
- Fun – Having fun outdoors is a fundamental premise of our education program. We want kids, families, and adults to view outdoor recreation and learning as fun life-long activities.
3. What are you most proud of in your work?
I am most proud of the fact that my team and I have led almost 45,000 students in outdoor exploration over 5 years while also keeping the program itself sustainable financially. The fact that almost every child leaves here with a smile on their face and dust on their boots makes me proud as well!
4. What inspires you to come to work every day?
My amazing staff of teachers and rangers inspire me to come to work every day. Their motivation and enthusiasm about teaching, learning, and the outdoors is contagious. Also, seeing the innate curiosity awoken in kids as they explore a gravel bar or wooded trail inspires my staff and me to stay motivated.
5. Which trail would you recommend to visitors and why?
My favorite trail in The Parklands is the Wild Hyacinth trail. I can get into the woods where it is quiet to rest and recharge. I enjoy going out after a good rain and seeing the water cascade into Turkey Run creek. I also enjoy splashing in the creek looking for crawdads just as much as our students do!
6. Which “thing to do” at The Parklands is your favorite and why?
My favorite activity at The Parklands is kayaking on Floyds Fork. I am drawn to the water. There is something about it that quiets my mind and relaxes me. I also find that I see more wildlife while slowly floating down the fork. Map turtles and red-eared sliders sunning themselves on rocks, great blue herons searching for a meal, and northern water snakes cruising next to my kayak. It is a great way to experience the beauty of The Parklands and get away from the crowds.
7. In your opinion, what makes The Parklands worthy of support?
The Parklands is doing something for the city of Louisville that hasn’t been done in over 100 years since Frederick Law Olmsted created parks like Cherokee and Iroquois. They are shaping the trajectory and development of the city by inserting green infrastructure ahead of development. As our world continues to urbanize, access to green space is harder and harder to come by. Supporting The Parklands means guaranteeing access to the beautiful forests and waterways of Louisville for generations to come. Your kids and grandkids will thank you.
8. How would you say “Thank You” to someone who donates to The Parklands, or who is thinking about donating?
Thank you for supporting one of the most unique park projects in the world and for making the outdoors part of the fabric of our city. All the kids in our education program thank you, and the next generation of conservationists thank you!
About the Author
As Director of Education, Curtis Carman oversees The Parklands Outdoor Classroom, promoting STEAM-based education through engaging, hands-on learning both outdoors and inside the classroom. Each year, his team of Education Specialists, Interpretive Rangers and Camp Counselors guide nearly 20,000 participants of all ages through school field trips, camps, Parklands Explorer, Junior Explorer and Wednesday Wonders. Prior to his promotion to Education Director in May of 2018, Curtis first joined The Parklands team as an Interpretive Ranger and led the department as Education Coordinator for three years. A native of Louisville and a graduate of Ballard High School, Curtis returned to his hometown after having worked as an environmental educator in Maine and Colorado at Acadia and Rocky Mountain National Parks. Curtis also served as Membership Manager at the Rocky Mountain Conservancy. Curtis enjoys hiking, biking, camping and kayaking.