NDVS/SB Administrative Assistant
Caretaker of animals, the earth, her family, and her work family
When you call NDVS/SB, chances are Nedra Hoberg will answer. Nedra spent much of her career working in a variety of educational settings that fed her love of nature. In her current position at NDVS/SB, she shares her passions with students, clients, and coworkers whenever she can, making their days a little brighter and reminding them of what’s important. Here, Nedra shares the story of how she ended up at NDVS/SB and the lessons she learned (and taught) along the way.
Growing Up with Animals
I grew up on a small farm north of Lakota, ND. My mother had a love of nature that she passed on to me. My childhood was spent caring for a large number of animals, both domestic and wild. I found I had a natural ability to work with critters. The locals began bringing and leaving injured wildlife for me to care for. I learned to care for many kinds of birds, as well as squirrels, rabbits, cats, dogs, horse, pigs, and deer. Mom drew the line when someone brought me a baby skunk.
I moved to Bismarck with my mom when my parents divorced, but after I completed high school, I moved back to Lakota to care for my dad. It was there I met my first husband and a year later got married. We had 2 sons and were married 13 years. He had a moving bug, and so we moved every 2 years. From Lakota we moved to Grand Forks, Lisbon, Minot (twice), and then to Carrington (twice).
In Carrington I rekindled a friendship with a gal I grew up with in Lakota. She worked for the Soil Conservation District and approached me about doing education presentations in schools using curriculum developed around “Sammy Soil Saver.” I gave presentations at all the elementary schools in Foster County and then was asked to give the presentations in other counties. I ended up building a life-size standing puppet for Sammy Soil Saver, a wearable Mother Earth puppet, and developing other characters to keep the shows fresh. We received grants to fund the shows statewide, and so I spent another 3 years on the road with Sammy and friends.
During that time, I became familiar with NDSU Extension Service and was treated to free coursework in forestry and natural resources at NDSU. I studied the environment and education (forestry, soils, water quality, etc.), and I was also a volunteer for ND Game and Fish giving presentations to teachers on natural resources.
One Million Trees and Counting
After I divorced and moved to Grand Forks, I began working at the Soil & Water Conservation District in Crookston. I worked with youth and adults in conservation education and worked on streambank stabilization projects. Every spring I planted tree windbreaks. In the course of my work in conservation I helped plant over a million trees.
I continued as a volunteer for ND Game & Fish under the Project WILD program. I met Ted when I was giving presentations at a teacher workshop in Washburn, ND. Two years later we were married and blended our families. He had two boys and a girl; I had two boys.
For 13 years I worked at the Grand Forks County Soil Conservation District. I set up the Eco Ed camps at Turtle River State Park, where I spent every September working with 6th or 7th grade students from the county. Students learned about forestry, prairie, wetlands, soil, water quality, and wildlife. I also set up programs and displays for farmers on soil and water conservation.
Change of Pace
From there I took a break for a few years after a death in the family and worked retail for a change of pace. I really missed working with children. I saw the advertisement for the position at the School for the Blind and thought that is where I want to be. I have been here now for 5 ½ years and love being around students and teachers once again.
My official title is Administrative Assistant. I am the records coordinator, which means I work with student folders and office files. I assist teachers with any secretarial work they need help with. I answer phone calls and route them to the appropriate staff members. I assist the business manager with payroll and preparing forms. I maintain the online office calendar and the stock of office supplies. I enjoy volunteering to do activities with the students. I take care of petty cash, personnel folders, run the postage meter, track defensive driving certification, set up background checks, track everyone’s state fleet status, …. I guess the best way to put it is I am here to serve everyone, including teachers, students, and staff.
The Importance of Every Day
Ted and I will be celebrating our 30th anniversary in June. He is the best friend I have ever had. We have been through so much together, and he is the love of my life. Our kids live in Minnesota, Tennessee, Oregon, and one is in Grand Forks. We had 8 grandkids scattered across the US. One is no longer with us.
Suicide has hit our family hard. My youngest son and granddaughter have both succeeded, and my mother attempted several times in her life. This has taught us how important every day is. I think it has made me more aware of the people around me. I know from experience how important it is to have someone to talk to. If anyone ever needs someone to listen, I try to make myself available. Feel free to stop by or give me a call.