Thursday, October 24, 2019

Secretary Regan Presents UNCA Student with Environmental Education Certification

N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael S. Regan presents the Environmental Education Certificate to UNC Asheville student Emily Avery, as Chancellor Nancy J. Cable (right) and Provost Kai Campbell (left) look on.

Secretary Michael Regan visited the campus of the University of North Carolina Asheville this week to meet university officials and present Emily Avery with the department’s environmental education certification. Avery is a graduate student in environmental studies pursuing her teaching license to become a middle school science teacher.

She began the certification program while working as a seasonal naturalist at Chimney Rock State Park where she discovered her interest in environmental education. “That’s where I discovered my passion for science, nature and environmental education,” said Avery. “I quickly realized I wanted my full-time career to be in science education, which led me to pursue the teacher licensure program at UNCA.”

Avery says the program helped her discover the importance of environmental stewardship, hands-on learning and ways to bring the environment into the classroom. She plans to use her knowledge of environmental education in her future middle school science classroom. “When students have more opportunities for experiential learning it creates a deeper thinking and application of knowledge that can be used in the real world.”

For her community partnership project required for the certification, Avery worked with Asheville Middle School and The North Carolina Arboretum’s ecoEXPLORE program to create and teach environmental education lessons for the school's In Real Life after-school program. Through these activities, the students learned about the species that live in their own schoolyard and ways to observe and identify different species. Avery says that she will use the certification as a middle school teacher. “I will use what I learned from the certification program to become a better science educator and to share the importance of environmental stewardship with the community.”

From left, Nancy Ruppert and Evan Couzo of UNC Asheville’s education faculty, students Emily Avery and Julie Neumark, alum Amy Kinsella, and Alison Ormsby of the environmental studies faculty
Regan was joined for the recognition ceremony by UNC Asheville Chancellor Dr. Nancy Cable and Dr. Garikai Campbell, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Also in attendance were certified environmental educators Alison Ormsby, an adjunct instructor of environmental studies and humanities at the university and Amy Kinsella, a UNC Asheville environmental studies graduate who is an education ranger at Holmes Educational State Forest in Hendersonville. Julie Neumark, an environmental studies student currently working on her environmental education certification also attended the recognition and had the opportunity to meet the secretary as she looks forward to completing the program herself.