As a politics major at Washington and Lee, Nova Clarke had an internship in the Clinton White House during the Washington Term. She had considered heading to law school after graduating in 1996.
But Nova had also participated in the Outing Club as an undergrad, enjoying hikes along the Appalachian Trail.
So once she landed a post-graduate internship with the National Park Service and began working at White Sands National Monument, in New Mexico, the hiking won out over the law school. And she's been working in the great outdoors ever since.
Nova recently joined Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, in Louisiana, as a refuge ranger, with specialties in interpretation and education. Shortly after her arrival, she was the subject of a feature story in the Monroe (La.) News-Star.
As that story reports, Nova has enjoyed stints at a number of parks through the country. Her resume includes stops at Utah's Canyonlands National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park, California's Mojave National Preserve and Redwood National and State Parks, Arizona's Rainbow Bridge National Monument, and Alabama's Russell Cave National Monument, to name several. Prior to heading to Louisiana last October, she had been an interpretive ranger at the Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, in Alabama.
Black Bayou is one of more than 550 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System. It features a 1,600-acre lake as part of a 4,500-acre refuge that is a habitat for migratory waterfowl, neotropical migratory songbirds and many resident wildlife species.
Nova is responsible for the educational programs at the refuge, which hosts numerous groups throughout the year. To get a sense of the environment in which she finds herself these days, browse through the photos on the Black Bayou Facebook page.