If you’ve been involved with Splash for any length of time – whether as a student, teacher, or enthusiastic supporter – you know there’s one guy who works tirelessly to ensure Splash’s impact is felt far and wide. He guides public tours, manages “Splash in the Class,” leads field trips at the vernal pools, and even writes our wildly popular “Wildlife Wednesday” Facebook.
Who is he? Why, he’s David Rosen!
This month’s Staff Spotlight features a special interview with our pal, naturalist, and environmental educator extraordinaire, David. Read along to learn more about why the students and teachers of Sacramento – including Splash staff and volunteers – are lucky to have David on their team.
David’s passion for nature began when he was just 12 years old, in Annandale, VA. After fashioning a bird feeder from a recycled coffee cake tin, he watched as many wonderful birds visited his backyard: Northern Cardinals, Carolina Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatches, American Goldfinches, Evening Grosbeaks, Purple Finches, and Common Redpolls all became frequent visitors to David’s family home. Since then, he has been passionate about studying birds and spending time in nature!
Says David, “As an early teen, I decided that if I ever grew up, my career would focus on birds and nature. Although I never really grew up, I feel incredibly fortunate that all my jobs since I was 17 years old have been tied to birds, nature, and environmental education.”
For the past 45 years, David has worked as a naturalist and environmental educator. In 2003, Splash founder Eva Butler contacted David about photographing plants, animals, and landscapes around the vernal pool grasslands at Mather Field and also capturing images of school kids having fun on Splash field trips. However, once Eva learned that David was a naturalist with loads of environmental education experience, she asked him to hop aboard the Splash train, and that’s where David has stayed for the last 20 years! Since then, David has been on staff at Splash in various positions and duties – all of which have allowed our organization to reach thousands of Sacramento students every school year.
When asked about his professional qualifications that make him such a tremendous asset to Splash, David responded, “I could share my educational background and the cool jobs I’ve had over the years. However, I don’t think that’s what best qualifies me to work as a guide at Splash. I think what qualifies me is the fact that I’m a kid at heart; I’m curious as heck, and I love to explore and learn in nature! I hope my excitement and enthusiasm about nature are contagious and get the groups that I lead excited about nature, too!”
David is passionate about carrying out Splash’s mission to help children understand and value our natural world. He finds inspiration from Baba Dioum, a Senegalese forestry engineer who said, “In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.” After all, that’s what Splash is all about! Each of our field trip experiences or class presentations is filled with hands-on discovery and exploration, which leads to understanding and cultivates a love for the environment. David artfully stated that “if future generations are to have natural areas with which to connect, we must encourage current generations to become environmental advocates who will take an active role in protecting these natural spaces.”
When David isn’t geeking out with nature stuff for Splash, he’s usually geeking out with nature stuff on his own! He and his wife love hiking, camping, birding, botanizing, photographing, and exploring in nature whenever they can.