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Check Out Erin LaCount’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erin LaCount.

Erin, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I spent weekends growing up with my grandparents, that live just on the other side of Green Mountain in Lakewood. Starting at around three years old for me, we would spend the nicer weather out hiking Dinosaur Ridge, Red Rocks Park, and going through the Morrison Natural History Museum. Non-hiking days would be spent at the Denver Museum and other museums around Denver, Lakewood, and Golden. My love of museums continued and I began volunteering at the Denver Museum when I was around 12 years old and spent years working with experts in Prehistoric Journey, temporary exhibits, and education collections.

I’ve always had a love of natural history, specifically dinosaurs and geology!

In high school when I got my first job as a summer camp assistant at Dinosaur Ridge after volunteering for a few of their events during summers. Sticking around after graduation as a part-time education assistant, and twenty years later, I’m Dinosaur Ridge’s Education Programs Director!

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Throughout my career at Dinosaur Ridge, it’s mostly been smooth (thankfully)! Being a young woman in the STEM field at an organization that, at the time (2002-2005) was male-dominated made for many bumpy roads. Fortunately, Dinosaur Ridge’s directors and board have almost always been supported through programming development, schooling, and general day-to-day workflow.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I’ve worked and volunteered in museum and environmental education for around 25 years. I specialize in dinosaurs, but have had a blast in learning/teaching about geology and other STEM sciences. Today, I would say I’m best known for my adult dinosaur lectures and, on the flip side, Summer Camp programming for ages 6-13. In terms of pride, bringing back summer camps and growing them over the last ten years has been very successful. We’ve went from 8 kids on our first summer back in 2012 to 300 kids this summer in 2022.

I would say my experience in museums and with programming and my approach to museum/environmental education is what sets me apart from a lot of folks out there, while still leaving me a ton of room for growth from folks out there as well. Everyone brings something to the table, but I think that my ability to switch from teaching adults to kids is something that’s unique.

Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
My grandmother deserves 90% of the credit for my success. She not only introduced me to science and the outdoors around where I grew up but also instilled a love of learning in me quite young. At Dinosaur Ridge, I’ve had many staff/volunteers that have served as great supporters over the years, and that number grows as time goes on. Matthew Mossbrucker over at the Morrison Natural History Museum has been my mentor for many years in both paleontology as well as programming – and it’s been a joy to bring our two museums closer together these last few years.

I look forward to all the other mentors that I’ll meet on the road ahead!

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Image Credits
Dinosaur Ridge Summer Camp. Photos by Dinosaur Ridge.

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