Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
My name is Faryl Smith and I am working at the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in New Mexico. I was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and was raised in a very large family that, even though we lived in the city, loved to be outdoors. When I was growing up we would spend weekend trips and holidays going to the lake to go camping, fishing, and hiking. As my sister and I grew older, my family would make weekend trips out to many of the State Parks, National Monuments, and National Parks all over the United States. These were very influential to me since I found these places amazingly beautiful, peaceful, and inspirational, so much so that I wanted to protect and tell everyone I meet about them. I am also a tribal member of The Wichita and Affiliated Tribes. I have very strong connections to my tribe, which is centered in Anadarko, Oklahoma, and love to tell the history of our tribe since we are not well known.
I got my Associates in Science at The Oklahoma City Community College and got my bachelor’s degree at The University of Oklahoma with a Multi-Disciplinary Degree in Environmental Geosciences with a strong emphasis on Geology and Geography. I also graduated with a minor in Studio Art which was focused on Drawing and Ceramics, since I have always had a strong love for the arts. I have since held a seasonal position with the US Fish and Wildlife at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge as a Biological Technician removing invasive plants and multiple seasons working for the National Park Services at Yosemite National Park as a Visitor Use Assistance. I have also acted as a representative of my tribe and assisted with a few tribal projects.
I applied for the Community Volunteer Ambassador (CVA) position to better my networking skills and to work with volunteers. I hope to bring my very energetic, friendly, chatty personality and love of sharing what I know with me to the program and to hopefully encourage other volunteers to bring their own unique personalities to our parks as well.