From Novice to Naturalist with SFI

On September 13th, student Lynn Ransford officially met all the requirements to be recognized as a Siskiyou Naturalist by SFI, a certification she originally started working toward in 2008! We spoke with Lynn about her most memorable experiences completing the certificate, how the opportunity to volunteer as a course host encouraged her to finish, and how her first class at SFI led to her to write and illustrate her very own children’s book! 
Lynn Ransford on a mushroom hike

Lynn first visited SFI at the insistence of a close friend, who invited her to attend a class on Nature Sketching and Journaling with Irene Brady. Lynn fell in love with SFI and was excited to deepen her knowledge through the Naturalist Certificate program. When asked about any favorite experiences during her journey, she said “So many things stand out. Birding on the ocean, venturing into the forest at night to trap bats (we didn’t catch any, but we had a great time), in an edible plants class we brought back stinging nettles that I didn’t want anything to do with, but we made a stinging nettle soup that was actually really delicious!” She also added that mushrooming has become a real passion. She and her husband regularly hunt every spring and fall, and feel like very safe ‘mushroom-ers’ after the many classes they’ve taken together.

Lynn studies were put on hold in 2014, when expenses became a barrier to continuing her Naturalist Certificate. But when she saw the call for volunteer course hosts last spring, she thought “Yes, I can finally do it!” SFI was happy to have Lynn on board as one of our generous volunteers, who in exchange for their hosting duties get to attend the class for free. “This is a wonderful gift you’ve offered,” Lynn said of the opportunity to be a volunteer host.

Now, Lynn has put her new skills to use in writing and illustrating her own book! Grandma Tell Me a Story was inspired by the many stories shared with her grandchildren over the years, their favorites of which were always bear stories. Lynn says the project began with the practice of writing and journaling she started in that first class at SFI. The book is being published by Lucky Valley Press in Jacksonville, OR, and will be available on Amazon before Christmas 2021. Lynn plans to continue writing and illustrating in the future, maybe another installment of stories is on the horizon? 

A huge congratulations to Lynn on her accomplishments at SFI and beyond, we’re proud to be a part of her story!

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