Staff Spotlight: Evan Patrick

| Evan Patrick

Name: Evan Patrick

Title: Natural Areas Team Leader

Team: Natural Areas


1. What is your role at The Parklands?

"My role is to design and implement habitat restoration and land management plans, and assist in managing ecological contractors that work throughout the park system. Which translates to: take out the bad plants (invasive species removal), put in the good plants (reforestation, meadow installation)."

2. How does your team keep The Parklands beautiful?

"The natural areas team works endlessly to eradicate exotic invasive species and to replace them with habitat restoring native species. The native species in the park make up dense, diverse woodlands; tall, waving warm season grasses; and bright, flowering forbs."

3. What are you most proud of in your work?

"On a daily basis, I get to contribute to something larger than myself. My team and I have planted thousands of trees, maintained acres of meadows and woodlands, and we have reduced the amount of invasive species in the park. We have rehabilitated wildlife habitat.  And now people, and entire community and region, get to use this space.They get to experience a healthy woodland, or a flowering meadow. They get to see wildlife- or more generally just experience the outdoors- and this is protected in perpetuity, for decades to come. I am proud and grateful to contribute to something that will benefit our community for years."

4. What inspires you to come to work every day?

"I get very excited at the prospect of what the future will look like. One of the beautiful, nuanced and intrinsic characteristics of natural areas is change. Trees grow, native warm season grasses spread, flowers bloom, plants die, and seeds are dispersed. Change is inseparable from natural areas. I get to plant that tree, propagate that seed, and see how it changes. I am inspired by the change. I want to know what these trees and plants that I started will look like in 100 years."

5. Which trail would you recommend to visitors and why?

"One of my favorite trails is the Wild Hyacinth Trail in Turkey Run Park. If you hike this trail throughout spring, you will see an abundance of wildlife flowers. These ephemeral flowers include, but are not limited to bloodroot, trout lily, trillium, Allegheny spurge, wild hyacinth (hence the trail name), hepatica, Dutchman’s breeches, dwarf larkspur and jack in the pulpit.

You will cross several small waterfalls that feed into Turkey Run, and you will see a centuries-old stonewall built by the farmers that worked this land."

6. What “hidden gem” do you recommend to visitors, and why?

"If you have the gear (map, cell phone, water) and your wits about you, I encourage you to explore the woodlands and forests within The Parklands. Big Beech Woods, Coppiced Woods, Turkey Run Forest and Broad Run Woods are incredible and unique resources that are right here in our community. Within The Parklands is some of largest contiguous woods in all of Jefferson County. Take advantage of these resources and explore these woods!"

7. In your opinion, what makes The Parklands worthy of support?

"The impact that The Parklands has and will have on our community is reason enough to support it. The opportunity to have a safe, clean, fun and beautiful experience in nature is priceless. It makes us mentally and physically healthier, it makes us appreciate flora and fauna, and it connects us with nature. When you support The Parklands you support our community."

Check out some of Evan's writing:

(Un)prescribed Fire: Looking on the Bright Side of Wildland Fires

Controlled Burning: How Fires Help, Not Harm, Our Land

Restoring the Sequoia of the East: Striving to Bring Back the American Chestnut


About the Author

Picture of Evan Patrick

Evan Patrick

Evan began his career with the Parklands in 2013 as a park attendant and part-time helper on Natural Areas projects. In 2014 he joined the Natural Areas team as a technician and in the spring of 2015 was promoted to Natural Areas Team Leader. While working he spends his time promoting healthy habitats for the plants and animals that live in the park. Patrick was born in Morehead, Kentucky near the Daniel Boone National Forest, where his appreciation for nature, conservation and stewardship was cultivated. Patrick is a graduate of the University of Louisville, where he earned a degree in anthropology. His interests include cooking, mushroom foraging, craft beer and the outdoors.

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