Naturalist Traná Madsen wrangles spiders, snakes, and salamanders to connect people with nature.
A: Yes, actually. I use it to teach people about spiders and show them there’s nothing to fear. It normally doesn’t crawl on my face.
A: No. A bullsnake once slithered around my waist and into my belt loops. It didn’t want to come out. Someone had to help me pull the snake through — just like a belt!
A: When I worked at a preschool, parents never asked if I’d been bitten by their child, yet it happened often. I’ve been a naturalist eight years and give 150 programs each year. Never once has a snake bitten me, but people ask about it all the time.
A: Helping people connect with nature. I once helped a teacher who was afraid of snakes find the courage to touch one. Her whole class cheered.
A: I play detective a lot. People come to me with questions, and I try to answer them. One gentleman brought in bones and wanted to know what they were. I finally figured out they were throat teeth from a fish called a carp.
A: Taking care of nature runs in my family. My dad, a wildlife biologist, encouraged and inspired my love of the outdoors. He said, "You would be great as a naturalist."
Nichole LeClair Terrill