There aren’t enough resources out there to do everything that needs to get done, so it’s up to volunteers to step up and do it.
Carol Gist likes to get outdoors. She also enjoys greeting and educating people about the outdoors in her community of Columbia, South Carolina. As a volunteer at Congaree National Park Carol is involved in just about every facet of the park’s visitor services division. She helps lead strenuous wilderness canoe tours into the park’s backcountry; she independently operates the park’s visitor center; she leads guided hikes and tours; and she works behind the scenes to help park staff improve the quality of the park’s public programs.
“The National Parks are very important to the fabric of our country,” Said Carol. “The park system is about where we have been and where we are going. It is about preserving the great natural areas in our country, but also preserving our history and culture.”
Carol grew up the daughter of an Air Force dad, moving many times, eventually settling in South Carolina. She received degrees from the University of South Carolina and the University of Texas at Austin and taught Spanish for 34 years.
“I always thought I would volunteer once I retired, but after being around an inspiring group of Sierra Club volunteers, I thought why wait until I retire?” said Carol. “There aren’t enough resources out there to do everything that needs to get done, so it’s up to volunteers to step up and do it.”
She dove in from there. In the last few years, she has volunteered more than 3,000 hours of her time in the park system, educating visitors not only about the park, but about stewardship of resources and the interconnectedness of all living things. She loves having the opportunity to meet and interact with park visitors not only from the US but from all over the world.
In her free time Carol enjoys enjoys kayaking, walking, traveling, and staying fit by teaching aquatic fitness classes. Her college friend, Linda Bailey will be joining her on the cruise!