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Deegan has a passion for nature, motorcycles and life

Robert Houk • Feb 27, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Connie Deegan is director of nature programs for Johnson City’s Parks and Recreation Department. As a naturalist, Deegan is often found at Memorial Park Community Center or in a classroom at East Tennessee State University teaching students about the small wonders of the natural world.

Many times those sessions find her talking about or handling creatures she holds in high regard — spiders, bats and snakes.

CONNIE DEEGAN FAST FACTS

Dog or cat person: “Snake.”

Favorite dessert: “One more potato.”

Ideal getaway: “Riding a motorcycle through all 32 counties of Ireland.”

HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR JOB TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS?

I work as a naturalist. I am lucky enough to try and teach people about natural systems and that It-Is-All-Connected. It doesn’t matter what you do, it comes back to how we treat our natural world. As for day-in-and-day-out, my position is wonderfully varied — I design and maintain trails in some of the city parks, help decide on native plantings, work on regional issues, manage small groups of students, inmates, volunteers, run summer nature camps, sit in front of a computer, drive the bus and I am the lifeguard … and more.

 WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR WORK?

I love the teaching aspect of this position. I also value the time I spend working outdoors.

HOW DO YOU COPE WITH STRESS?

I hike a lot and ride my motorcycle. An almost perfect day is riding the bike to a new trailhead to explore another trail.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO IS JUST EMBARKING ON A CAREER?

Always remember that someone is going to get the job, and why shouldn’t it be you? Pick your dream job, then bump it up a notch and go for that one instead.

WHO DO YOU ADMIRE?

I greatly admire people that overcome incredible personal struggles in their lives. People do amazing things every day.

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