Friday, November 22, 2019

Educator Spotlight: Meredith Fish

Meredith Fish, an educator for the North Carolina Aquarium at Jennette’s Pier, recently completed her Environmental Education Certification. Meredith instructs several outdoor summer camps, fishing classes, school field trips and outreach programs.

Meredith created a “Drone Exploration Program” to bring STEM education to classrooms in northeastern North Carolina for her community partnership project. She received a grant through Dominion Energy and traveled with Jennette’s Pier to middle schools to teach kids what drones are, how they work and how they are used within the realm of environmental science.

“Most kids probably think that drones are just cool toys, but this program will teach them the various ways that drones can be used in the environmental research and conservation fields, which will help inspire potential future careers in these young bright students,” said Meredith. “The northeastern North Carolina community that I will be reaching is very rural and is typically underrepresented when it comes to educational opportunities such as this. Upon completion of this project, this drone exploration program will be added to the list of programs offered through Jennette’s Pier.”

Meredith says the program helped her see the environment through a kid’s eyes and allowed her to travel the state visiting environmental education centers. “I learned to teach different audiences about a wide variety of topics.”

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Secretary Regan Presents UNCG Doctoral Student with Environmental Education Certification

North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael Regan made a visit to UNC Greensboro on November 12 to award Ti’Era Worsley her North Carolina Environmental Education Certificate and to visit with faculty.

Ti’Era is a doctoral student in the Department of Teacher Education and Higher Education at UNCG. She researches informal science education with middle school youth and STEM. Ti’Era’s current research interest include looking at social interactions among African American youth and how it affects their quality of work. She focuses on STEM education but has a passion for environmental education and for working with minoritized youth. She likes working with this specific population because it gives them an opportunity to engage in STEM in ways that are culturally relevant to them.
Ti’Era’s community partnership project was working with a cultural/Spanish immersion program to host a professional development workshop that focused on outdoor education. They wanted ideas on activities that would support their curriculum and show them how to use the resources they have access to within their space. The teachers and assistants were interested in outdoor education but were unsure how to implement it into their curriculum. She was able to share resources and create a google drive that provided them environmental education activities in Spanish.

Ti’Era says she naturally takes a community-based approach to teaching and believes in co-creating and co-planning. “The EE Certification program has provided me the content knowledge to help bridge the gap of people's perspectives about environmental education and building environmental literacy. After participating in the certification program, I think about environmental issues with a diverse mindset. I understand that different people have very different connections to the outdoors and what may be pressing to some is not very pressing to others. I have become better at understanding the importance of the outdoors from different perspectives.”

Friday, November 1, 2019

Secretary Regan Visits Environmental Education Class at Appalachian State University

North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Secretary Michael Regan visited Tom Randolph’s environmental education class at Appalachian State University last week to talk about climate change, and how North Carolina is working to mitigate the impact, including supporting the transition to clean energy.

Randolph is a North Carolina Certified Environmental Educator through the DEQ administered program and serves as the Lead Education Ranger at Mt. Jefferson State Natural Area, a part of the North Carolina State Parks system located in West Jefferson in Ashe County. He is also an adjunct professor of interpretive methods at ASU where he teaches the class in environmental education.

Secretary Regan presenting student Project WET certificate

Secretary Regan enjoyed hearing from students and was able to hand out certificates to students for completing their Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) Workshop, a national environmental education curriculum that is managed on the state level by the department. Students were interested in learning more about how they can engage the university, the local community and beyond to implement sustainable practices.

“It was such an honor to come to Appalachian State University and speak to a class of environmental education students who are passionate about the environment and looking for ways to protect what makes North Carolina special,” said Secretary Michael S. Regan. “The students raised some challenging questions about climate change and its impacts, but they also are actively engaged in being part of the solution.”