BHSU grad, pushes herself to excel, earn outdoor education degree
Published 8:15 am Monday, May 25, 2015
An Austin native is working with reptiles this summer at the largest reptile zoo in the world.
Paige Smith, a Black Hills State University graduate, is working at Reptile Gardens outside of Rapid City this summer. Smith earned her outdoor education degree while working two part time jobs, and admitted that her schedule at times left her a little frazzled.
“I did it through planning and time management,” Smith said in a press release. “My agenda is filled and I have post it notes everywhere. Keeping organized really kept me on track.”
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Smith graduated from BHSU on May 9 with her degree in outdoor education and immediately began a summer internship with Reptile Gardens outside of Rapid City.
While working at Reptile Gardens, the largest reptile zoo in the world, she will handle the reptiles and educate the public about the species. Some of the animals she will work with include tortoises, komodo dragons and snakes.
Smith’s interest in animals and the outdoors began in high school when her biology teacher left a teaching career to become a park ranger.
That new career move sparked an interest in Smith to learn more about that field of study.
A native of Minnesota, Smith said she got involved in rock climbing, canoeing and other outdoor activities at BHSU through the College Outdoor Leadership Program (COLP).
“I’m going to miss the atmosphere at BHSU,” she said. “I love being able to look out the window of my classroom and see the hills.”
Although her work at Reptile Gardens is seasonal, Smith said she hopes to eventually work full-time at the attraction or someplace very similar.