A group effort

Editor’s note: The “Meet the” series profiles the people behind groups, organizations and businesses in the community.

By Lillian Bowe
Staff writer
lbowe@pntonline.com

With a degree in wildlife and fisheries sciences and currently working on a master’s in biology from Eastern New Mexico University, Cheyenne Lattin has found the perfect summer job for her.

Lattin has been worked at Oasis State Park for two summers as a seasonal laborer. Lattin said she does a little bit of everything at the park, from talking to people to park maintenance, but her favorite thing is seeing the wildlife.

Lillian Bowe: Staff photo From left, Valerie Russ, Cheyenne Lattin and Gabriel Garcia clean up a cactus garden Thursday at Oasis State Park. Russ said pulling weeds and cleaning around the park is one of many responsibilities Lattin, Garcia and herself have.

Lillian Bowe: Staff photo
From left, Valerie Russ, Cheyenne Lattin and Gabriel Garcia clean up a cactus garden Thursday at Oasis State Park. Russ said pulling weeds and cleaning around the park is one of many responsibilities Lattin, Garcia and herself have.

“I get so distracted by the birds, lizards, toads and other animals. We might be cleaning around, but as soon as I see a lizard I have to get a closer look and I try to get a picture of it,” Lattin said.
There are many animals she sees at the park and Lattin even saw a beetle she was writing her graduate thesis on.

Lattin said working at the park has been a big learning experience for her. She has gained customer service, manual labor and many other skills.

Lattin praises the people she works with often, she said, because they are awesome to work with, including Jim Whary, the park manager, and James Williams, a park tech.

Valerie Russ agrees that the staff at Oasis are a great group of people to be around. Russ said Whary is supportive and helps out whenever he is needed.
Russ has worked at Oasis for 10 years and is a park tech advanced.

Russ’ job is to provide education about the park to the visitors and she travels to schools for presentations on the park. She also schedules the summer programs at the park that happen Saturdays.

“My favorite part of the job is the people. We get people from Germany, Canada and places all over the world. It is really great to interact with them,” Russ said.

Russ said there is no standout team member at Oasis as all the staff are great workers, even the new employees.

Gabriel Garcia, 17, from Dora started working at Oasis only a few weeks ago for a summer job. Garcia has enjoyed the work at the park, but his favorite part so far is fishing with Whary. “During my off time I went with (Whary) and I caught a 6-pound catfish. It was pretty cool,” Garcia said.

Garcia said he has enjoyed being able to work outside and he has had fun at Oasis.