took a circuitous route to get where he
is today, and he's
discovered a lot along the way.
Even as he
switched directions and changed professions, Hodgdon's job has always been about learning, first as a teacher, then as a newspaper reporter, and even now, as media liaison for the Forest Preserve District of Will County
With a college education based in English and journalism, Hodgdon
taught high school English for 20 years in St. Louis and Texas before heading back to the Joliet area. He
briefly worked for a newspaper before planting himself at the Forest Preserve District, where he
has been for more than eight years.
If anyone has a question about the forest preserves, Hodgdon
is the go-to guy.
doesn't know the answer, he'll quickly find someone who does.
"It was not hard to make the transition," he
"I totally credit the people I work with.They are really helpful, knowledgeable and professional.They went out of their way to help me." Hodgdon
took ecology courses at Joliet Junior College
to improve his
knowledge.And, over the years, he
has continued to learn "a ton of stuff" that comes from being on the job every day. He
can talk about the effects of beaver dams on the local ecology, the importance of burning, the restoration of wetlands and the development of bike trails.
"If they had provided me with a single book on everything I had to learn, it would have been daunting," said Hodgdon
As media liaison, his
goal is to get accurate information to people as quickly as possible. He
handles all calls from the local media and writes the news releases. He
fields calls from the public and writes the information in the district's brochures.He
sits in on several committee meetings and conducts slide presentations and other public programs.
On any given day, he's
juggling a half dozen different assignments and learning all the time.
It's always challenging, and sometimes controversial, but it's "never work," Hodgdon
"There are very few idle moments.If you have an active curiosity, the job does not grow stale."
In recent years, the district has been on a mission to acquire an additional 6,500 acres of land and has welcomed thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of participants into its educational and recreational programs.
"What we are doing today will be around in the future.
When people see the open space surrounded by development, they will say, 'Thank God, someone thought to preserve it,' " Hodgdon
"It's bigger than any one of us.It will pay dividends well into the future.It's a legacy for all who work here."
Online Maitre D'