April Boggs, a graduate research assistant at North Carolina State University, recently completed her N.C. Environmental Education Certification. She is currently working on her master’s degree in fisheries, wildlife and conservation biology. Her hobbies include reading, hunting, kayaking, fishing and hiking. Participating in this program has helped her as a research assistant and in her everyday life.
“Through the environmental education certification program, I learned that I need to be more conscious of how I teach others,” said Boggs. The program opened her eyes to see that there was more to learn about environmental education.
Boggs mentioned that as a biology research assistant, she tended to only focus on the facts. Being in the Environmental Education Certificate program made her realize that you shouldn’t solely focus on facts that are already known, but you should also have an open mind by promoting ideas and exploring.
“The certification experience that stood out for me was the Methods of Teaching Environmental Education workshop, as it brought up points about environmental education that I hadn't really considered.” The program is full of workshops and projects designed to increase environmental literacy as well as provide practice in environmental education teaching methods to all educators. Boggs also noted that receiving her certificate helped her to change her perspective on environmental education and showed we need to promote more critical thinking to solve issues.
“My community partnership project was to set up bird houses at the elementary school I attended as a child. As part of the project I also taught a lesson about birds, helped the students build pine cone bird feeders and provided bird watching and lesson supplies to third grade teachers for their classroom,” said Boggs. “My hope is that it helped instill curiosity about the birds and environment in the third graders I worked with and provided a resource for future classes.”
Bogg's experience shows that the program encourages a fun learning environment for both the educators receiving the certificate and the students who participate. “My favorite part of earning my certification was working with the students during my community project. It was great building the pine cone bird feeders with them and seeing how interested they were in birds.”
The environmental education certification program enhances the ability of all educators and organizations to provide beneficial programs and resources, helping local communities while educating students about their environment. Educating North Carolinians on how to preserve our resources is an important step to investing in the future of North Carolina’s environment.