Hi! My name is Griffin. I’m a corn snake. I live at Pocahontas State Park’s Nature Center. I’m about three years old. I like my home here. I live in an aquarium, which is mostly where I stay. However occasionally I find a way out to explore the rest of the Nature Center. In April of this year I went on one of my “nature walks” in the Center. It was one of my longer hikes as I was out all day. On this particular day, the Virginia State Parks Reservation Center’s staff came to the Nature Center for a brief tour and to participate in some pre-season teambuilding exercises that afternoon. Following is what I observed that day:
First off, they ate a picnic lunch they brought with them outside at the picnic tables near the Center. Then the Nature Center’s interpretive programmer, Christen Miller, showed the reservation employees the residents of the Nature Center, including a display of insects and butterflies, small turtle, big turtle, lizard, my friend Lemmy the Bullsnake, along with several taxidermied (ugh!) small critters – mink, bobcat, fox, fawn, owl, birds, turkey, squirrel, etc. Then to everyone’s horror and my glee, it was discovered that I, Griffin the Cornsnake!, was missing! Wow! You should have seen the commotion that caused! They looked everywhere, and the interpreter feared I’d freeze if I had gotten outside as the nights were still chilly. Some of the staff really wanted to find me…and others…..well, I am a snake after all (not everyone’s favorite creature).
Okay, after their introduction to the Nature Center, the staff went into a meeting room in the Nature Center and you’ve never seen such things as these guys did! Boy, did they have fun! However, more importantly, they really enjoyed learning about each other as coworkers, writing positive, appreciative words about each other (secretly of course), a bit of customer service pointers, and finally, they broke into teams and made posters with their team’s name, slogan, picture, and coat of arms……it was amazing what they came up with. Then of course there were door prizes, and finally each team member received a certificate of appreciation denoting the characteristics of that team member as it related to the reservation center. When they left they were in the highest of spirits to say the least! I’ve heard they really enjoy working together a lot more now and speak of their teambuilding experience often. Each team’s coat of arms and picture is still prominently displayed in the Reservation Center.
I can highly recommend that other businesses, clubs, classes or groups consider going to Pocahontas or any of the other 34 state parks for a short afternoon visit to build up your work teams. Just bring a picnic lunch, some fun teambuilding activities, and join the interpretive programmer at any state park for a short tour and nature walk or program. See ya there!
(Oh, by the way, the interpretive programmer found me later than evening inside the Nature Center in the hall near the restrooms. My day had been wonderful but exhausting and I was happy to be put back into my aquarium for dinner until my next adventure.)