Dale Luthringer – Environmental Education Specialist

Dale Luthringer – Environmental Education Specialist

Getting to know the people appearing on the EDGE of EXTINCTION Human cards.

Dale Luthringer is the Wild card in the Nature Bites Back expansion pack for WILD: North East North AmericaWe first met Dale while visiting Cook Forest State Park. The girls had finished their first game, WILD: North East North America, and we were looking for educators who would include it in their teaching materials. Dale accepted a couple games and reviewed it with us so he knew how to play the game.

Six different schools tested the WILD game that year and their feedback indicated a desire for more cards or expansion packs. We connected with several people to make that happen including Dale. In our “Nature Bites Back” expansion pack, Dale was the wild card.

A year or so later, I caught him between events and shared with him the girls’ second game, EDGE of EXTINCTION: The Educational Trading Card Game. He accepted a few starter decks and took a minute to look over the Allegheny National Forest Starter Deck. After a few minutes of talking, he agreed to be a part of the game, and sent me a photo of himself next to one of Cook Forest’s largest trees.

Dale Luthringer is the face of the Ranger cardThe girls got busy coming up with ideas for his Human card later that day. We had a card that would take out the human cards one-by-one (Man-Eater card) but we didn’t know how to remove that card once it was played… So Dale, being a park ranger as well as an educator, became the face of the “Ranger” card.

We asked Dale a few questions about who he is and what he does. Here are his responses.

What is your full name and title?

Dale Luthringer – environmental education specialist

Where do you work and reside?

Cook Forest State Park, Cooksburg, PA

What is your educational background?

A.S. Wildlife Technology from Penn State DuBois, B.S. Biology from Clarion University

What are you currently reading? Why?

The Conquerors: A Narrative by Alan Eckert.  It’s a French & Indian through Pontiacs Rebellion era historical narrative through.  I’m always reading history to help improve my living history portrayals in the French & Indian, Civil War, and lumber history eras.

The Bible.  Proverbs 9:10              “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and acknowledging the Holy One is understanding.”

What are you curious about or exploring in your field of expertise at the moment?

Always curious in exploring and documenting previously undescribed old growth forests and big/tall tree sites.

What personal strengths do you find especially helpful in your profession?

Never giving up, persistence, and honesty.

What advise you to offer to parents who want to help their children get involved with the natural world?

Get out with your kids and experience the outdoors.  You don’t need to be an expert to enjoy nature.  It’s a continual learning experience and a great time to share and grow together with your kids.  You’ll be surprised the discoveries you’ll make together.

How do you integrate technology in your profession?

I try to integrate the latest in tree measuring technology with the use of laser rangefinders, clinometers, tapes, and calipers.  It’s a great way to utilize math in the field.

How do you disconnect from technology?

Take a hike, go kayaking, go fishing, take a country drive, just about anything that gets you into the outdoors.

Dale Luthringer standing next to one of Cook Forest's largest treesWhat advice would you offer nature-lovers who live in large cities?

Find a place in the outdoors where you can “escape” the busyness of everyday life.  It is likely there’s some sort of park or square in your city.  If you find it hard finding time to leave the city, a special place may be a roof top, a balcony, a stream edge, any place that gets you outside that helps you reconnect/recharge your “batteries”.

What advice would you offer nature-lovers who live in rural areas?

It is easy for those of us who live in rural areas to take nature for granted since we’re in it all the time.  Remember that you don’t have to always take a vacation to experience what is often just outside our door.

What could a visitor expect to see when they come to visit you at work?

Pennsylvania’s finest old growth forest

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