Ed Note: Readers you are in for a treat as Tom Cervenak, Visitor Services and Marketing Manager for Virginia State Parks, weaves the story of how he came to work for parks and what his career has been like. This series will run nine chapters, with many of them split into two parts.
Chapter 2 The Wonder Years (Part 1)
Nice title to chapter 2, could be a good television show someday. Well it kind of sums up my early years through High School, wondering what the heck was going on. My family moved out of Cleveland and to the suburbs before I entered the 5th Grade. Going to public school was a lot different. For one thing, there were no more of those raffles. And the world was just nuts through the eyes of a kid in the ‘60’s through the 70’s. We had invasions of Beatles and Monkees, we had Kennedy, King and Nixon tragedies, we had war and the sadness of Kent State in my backyard, and unfortunately we had disco music. Actually I’m not sure disco was that bad as my outgoingness had me on the dance floor in all kinds of Saturday Night Fever like outfits. Through the entire turmoil and craziness one thing remained true, my love of nature and people.
I continued to be “home schooled” in nature at my family’s cottage in the woods near Linesville. I got some early lessons in park management in the small town as they have a bird museum and sanctuary, a fish hatchery and museum and the coolest thing, the Spillway, “where the ducks walk on the fish.” If you are ever in the area take the time to check it out and bring some bread. It is one of Pennsylvania’s largest tourist attractions run by the State, where thousands of carp fight for bread thrown in by visitors. It is so thick in areas, that ducks sometimes will walk across the carp to steal the bread first, thus their saying. If I was their marketing manager I would video someone being lowered into the water with a suit made of bread and YouTube it.