Thursday, March 31, 2016

Ranger Uses Environmental Education to Improve River Health and Educate Kids About the Environment

A park ranger from Hanging Rock State Park is making a difference in communities across North Carolina through environmental education. 
Darius Pollard completed the North Carolina Environmental Education Certification Program offered through the Department of Environmental Quality, which he began as an AmeriCorps member at New River State Park in Ashe County. 

As part of the community partnership component of his environmental education certification, Darius spearheaded a campaign to improve the health of the New River by engaging private landowners in efforts to restore easements or buffers along the river. Through a partnership with the National Committee for the New River, Darius arranged for funding to cost-share with landowners who wanted to restore their easements on the river. Darius’ efforts have not only helped with erosion and sediment pollution in the river but they have successfully educated property owners and engaged them in good management practices.

In addition to educating adults, Darius has had the opportunity to educate children through environmental education and interpretation programs at state parks. He credits the certification program for changes in his teaching approach. “Participating in the EE program changed my approach by increasing my knowledge but also by broadening my knowledge and interpretation styles for different audiences. Before the EE program, my approach to children was similar to that of adults but through this program I have learned that, for good interpretation, I must approach children in a much different way. Through workshops such as Growing up WILD, and Project CATCH, I feel much more comfortable approaching any age group,” he said.

There are certified environmental educators in every region of North Carolina. You can view programs offered by educators like Darius on the environmental education calendar at

The N.C. Environmental Education Certification Program is a professional development program for classroom teachers and nonformal educators. The program is administered by the Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs in the Department of Environmental Quality. For more information about the program, visit

*Growing up WILD and Project CATCH are programs offered by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

NC's Environmental Education Website – Notice Something New?

You may notice something new about the North Carolina Environmental Education website. The Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs recently launched a “new look” for the website and although it has a new look, it still has the same great resources. 


The site which is set-up to serve as an online “hub” for environmental education programs, and facilities and resources receives approximately one million visits a year and provides a statewide calendar of events.

Behind the website’s success as an information clearinghouse is a unique partnership between eight southeastern states, Hawaii and Wisconsin to share information and provide environmental education resources. Some of the services provided through this partnership include a searchable directory of North Carolina's environmental education centers and organizations, a listing of grants and jobs, a statewide interactive calendar of events and a searchable resource database that links each resource to its provider.

The system also allows the participating states to share postings for grants, jobs, curriculum and other resources, greatly maximizing the capacity of each individual state’s educational outreach mission. Many of these shared services were provided free to the office through this collaborative grant.

Some examples of what you might be missing on the site:

A statewide listing of educational facilities
such as parks, nature and science centers, museums, botanical gardens, arboretums, coastal reserves, educational state forests, the NC Aquariums and Zoo.

A statewide calendar of events and professional development opportunities for educators

New resources such as the Egret Curriculum, a place-based curriculum designed to increase knowledge of current watershed science and environmental issues related to the Tar-Pamlico watershed in North Carolina and that aligns all lessons with 5th grade core curriculum and essential standards.

A statewide listing of jobs and internships in the field of environmental education.

Opportunities for grants and contests.

A thriving online community of educators through a statewide listserv, Twitter and Facebook

An opportunity to meet North Carolina’s Certified Environmental Educators

So check out the updated site and join the state's community of environmental educators. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Sara Hallas Receives Conservation Communicator Award

Sara Hallas, coastal education coordinator with the N.C. Coastal Federation and a N.C. Certified Environmental Educator was honored for her outstanding environmental education and outreach efforts by the Hugh Hammond Bennett Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society.

From the N.C. Coastal Federation's Coastal Review Online.

RALEIGH — Sara Hallas, coastal education coordinator with the N.C. Coastal Federation’s northeast office in Manteo, recently received the 2016 Conservation Communicator Award from the Hugh Hammond Bennett Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society.

The award, presented Saturday in Raleigh, honored Hallas’ outstanding environmental education and outreach, including organizing the Coastal Environmental Educators Network, a coalition of environmental education organizations and professionals in northeastern North Carolina. The network’s mission is to create a sense of value for the region’s natural and cultural resources through partnership and networking. The network consists of more than 30 member organizations, including state, federal, university and nonprofit organizations.

To read the full story, visit the Coastal Review Online at