Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Educator Spotlight: Jane Jarrett

Congratulations to Jane Jarrett for completing her N.C. Environmental Education Certification. Jane is an instructor at East Carolina University, where she teaches undergraduate students majoring in recreation and park management and recreation therapy. “One of the classes I teach is recreation and event programming, where I mentor students through the writing of program plans and implementation of community events and programs,” said Jane. When asked about her life outside of work, Jane replied, “When I am not working you can find me spending time with my two large dogs, my snake or my bird!”

For her community partnership project, Jane created a set of interactive nature boxes for a schoolyard garden in Greenville, North Carolina. Her project was part of an afterschool program for children who have underperformed in a traditional school environment. Jane created nature boxes with different themes related to the schoolyard garden, with a special focus on birds and pollinators. “My goal was to develop interactive, themed nature boxes that motivated students and kept them engaged,” said Jane.

Jane partnered with the East Carolina University Lab School and the Pitt County School System to implement her project. To help students keep up with their school curriculum, Jane ensured that learning materials in the nature boxes were related to vocabulary and concepts learned in the classroom. Nature boxes contained crafts, games, activities, and lesson plans for teachers and other learning facilitators.

As an educator focusing on community-based initiatives, it was important to Jane to create a project that engaged not only the school children, but the other community members involved in implementing the afterschool program. “This project engages members of the community by providing them resources to utilize while working with the participants. Having the materials, lessons, activities, games etc. ready to implement makes this project accessible for the facilitators/teachers/volunteers. The nature boxes, Children's Garden and afterschool program are provided to the participants for free.”

Jane said her favorite part of the N.C. Environmental Education Certification process was the chance “to interact with passionate educators and facilitators.” She also stated that participating in the certification program led to some changes in her teaching style. "I started noticing more subtle connections that I have personally made to enhance my labs and lectures...I was able to share methods of teaching environmental education with my students and encouraged them to create an atmosphere of excitement rather than advocacy with their participants."

When asked about the trainings and workshops that she enjoyed most during the certification process, Jane said she appreciated programs that “involved audience participation and got people outside their comfort zone.”

To learn more about the NC Environmental Education Certification, visit the Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs' website.

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