Monday, June 24, 2019

Educator Spotlight: Jacob Brown

Congratulations to Jacob Brown on completing the N.C. Environmental Education Certification. As a park ranger for the City of Fayetteville, Jacob interacts with hundreds of people a day, especially the school children that visit the local nature center. Through this work, he educates the many visitors about local flora and fauna within the city parks.

When asked about his favorite aspect of the certification program, Jacob answered, "it was a lot of fun learning new programs to present and meeting other educators. Sharing ideas through these workshops was a highlight and a very good opportunity to learn." 

Jacob created a wheelchair accessible raised bed garden with the help of a local scout troop for his community partnership project, which currently serves as a butterfly garden. Jacob and the scouts constructed the wooden platform and created a connection to existing sidewalks by laying down slate. They planted parsley in the bed to attract black swallowtails and plans to use the bed to teach visitors about the life-cycle and behaviors of butterflies through hands-on experiences, including smelling the swallowtail's odorous defense mechanism! Other plans for the space include native species education and gardening lessons. ADA accessible outdoor spaces are minimal in Fayetteville and Jacob is excited about how this project will allow for more educational opportunities for all people in the community. "By making the garden handicapped accessible, we were able to open the door to a whole new community for outreach."

Boy Scouts helped Jacob construct the raised bed garden.

Thanks in part to the certification program, Jacob sees environmental education as an ongoing learning experience. The program increased his literacy of environmental issues and, through each course, he "picked up on many subtle things that would bring more awareness and curiosity to visitors. It was a great way to hone skills as well as bring things to my attention that I could be doing differently."