New Wright County naturalist looks forward to getting her hands dirty

From the time she was a young girl running around the forest, Sarah Rueger knew that she wanted a career that would put her in the outdoors. Rueger describes herself as a lover of nature and all things rustic. So when she was offered a full-time position as a naturalist and technician here in Wright County, she jumped at the opportunity and has been loving it ever since.

Rueger grew up in Hubbard, Iowa and went to high school at South Hamilton. Throughout her childhood, it was hard to keep her indoors. She explained that her dad owns 60 acres of wooded area that she would tromp around in as a kid. From that, she developed an affinity for the environment, conservation and all outdoor activities. Rueger spent her youth biking, skiing, and kayaking.

When she attended college, she decided to put those passions to work and pursue a forestry degree. She attended Iowa State University and finished her bachelor’s this past spring. During this time, Rueger said she was fortunate to be able to pursue some interesting internships, including time spent with the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and the Minnesota DNR. She also assisted graduate students at ISU with research projects.

After she graduated this past May, Rueger was set on a finding a job that would allow her to chase her passion for the outdoors and work hands-on. She applied for a seasonal position with the Wright County Conservation Department for summer help. Needless to say, the summer went well, so well, that the county wanted to keep her on permanently. Wright County Conservation Director Bruce Lindner said they are excited to have Rueger on board. “We got a chance to watch her develop for four or five months in the position, and it went great.” Although a naturalist position hasn’t existed in the county for a while, the position was revived for Rueger.

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