Peer Perspective: Sarah Wall, Squam Lakes Natural Science Center
Visitor Services Manager, Squam Lakes Natural Science Center
Holderness, New Hampshire
Could you share a little about your background?
I am somewhat new to Squam Lake Natural Science Center, as I came onboard March 2017. I received a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. My nonprofit career began at New Hampshire Audubon, where I held various roles, all of which focused on customer service, retail management and special events. After spending 10 years with NH Audubon, I found my way to the Science Center.
When looking at a new product or line for the store, which aspects matter most?
Most importantly, we try to match the mission of Squam Lakes Natural Science Center (SLNSC), which is to advance understanding of ecology by exploring New Hampshire’s natural world to the merchandise sold in the gift shop. We are looking to extend the visitors’ experience through items that can be found in our gift shop. Other important aspects are whether it is locally made, environmentally friendly or just inspiring folks to get nearer to nature.
What sort of questions or comments do you use to get visitors engaged?
We always ask if they enjoyed the exhibit trail. Other questions are, where are they from? What was their favorite animal or exhibit? Have you visited before? If they are somewhat local, we give information on membership. I always, always thank them for visiting.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy interacting with our visitors and hearing how they enjoyed their visit. It reminds me that folks travel great distance to visit our Science Center and choose to spend part of their vacation here. It is nice to work at a location that is considered a vacation destination; sometimes I feel I am on vacation, too.
In addition, I enjoy researching new or different nature-inspired books, jewelry and gifts in the offseason to bring into the gift shop for the upcoming season.