Naturalist Marilyn Williams of Mill Creek MetroParks has been awarded the Sandy McBeath Outstanding Part-Time/Seasonal Interpreter Award by the National Association for Interpretation (NAI) Great Lakes Region. As part of the Professional Awards Program, the Sandy McBeath Award is designed to recognize outstanding interpreters within the Great Lakes region including Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Ontario. The Sandy McBeath Award is presented to two NAI Great Lakes Region interpreters that exceed in front-line interpretation and program development, and show leadership qualities.
Marilyn Williams, naturalist at the Ford Nature Center, began with Mill Creek MetroParks in 2012 as a seasonal interpreter at Lanterman’s Mill. In April 2013, Williams officially moved to the nature center as a naturalist. Prior to working at Mill Creek MetroParks, she was an ecotour guide in Florida for nine years expanding visitor awareness of Florida’s diverse habitats, including the cypress swamps. Within the MetroParks, Williams has been integral at developing and leading programs such as Children’s Nature Hour, Tales for Tots, Heritage and History Day Camp, Old Fashioned Fun at Lanterman’s Mill, hikes, school programs, and more. Through the Children’s Nature Hour and Tales for Tots programs, Williams engages and excites children ages 2-6 with fun nature topics and creative activities, all the while teaching important ideas about nature and wildlife. At Old Fashioned Fun at Lanterman’s Mill, an annual event, Williams presents families with fun ways to experience the past by observing and trying out various tasks from an era when people were intricately connected to nature for their survival. As an interpreter and educator, Williams strives to take advantage of interpreting nature as it changes by giving Mill Creek MetroParks visitors the opportunity to savor the best of each season and discover, as Williams calls them, “nature’s little treasures.”
Williams will be attending the NAI Great Lakes Regional Interpreter’s Workshop hosted in St. Catherine’s, Ontario at the end of April to accept the award.