Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Educator Spotlight: Erin Crouse

Erin Crouse recently earned her North Carolina Environmental Education Certification. Crouse is a conservation manager with The Conservation Fund, working on community projects that focus on conservation and economic development. Through this role, she leads environmental education programs that connect people to local agriculture at Good Hope Farm

When asked about her favorite part of the program, Crouse said that she enjoyed learning more about North Carolina flora and fauna and connecting with other educators through the courses. In particular, she enjoyed teaching third graders about vermicomposting and pollinators, putting the skills she learned to practice. 

For her community partnership project, Crouse created a native plant arbor at the Merriwood Apartments' community garden in Cary. She worked with the Town of Cary and property management at the apartment complex to identify a high impact project. The garden is a new project between the partners and the arbor brought an integral educational component. Crouse also worked with Boy Scouts and Cary Teen Council members to construct the arbor. "The arbor build raises awareness of the importance of pollinators to our environment and allows Merriwood residents to learn more about the native plants that support pollinators. It also increases knowledge of how pollination works, and how pollinator species pollinate crops in the garden, helping grow food."

Crouse also found that, as she spends more time out in the field, she better understands "the complexity of the issues we face with our environment, and that there is not one solution, but many people working together." She also found that the certification program increased her confidence as an educator. "I'm now more relaxed in a teaching setting and am better able to handle questions that come my way."

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