Amy Kinsella, a forest ranger with Holmes Educational State Forest in Hendersonville completed her environmental education certification this week.
Kinsella is responsible for monitoring the health of 235 acres of state forest and for increasing forestry literacy for audiences of all ages. She conducts a variety of environmental education programs that occur on site, in schools and through year-long outreach programs including Envirothon, career days and festivals.
The educational state forest offers workshops such as Project Learning Tree, and have outdoor instructor-led offerings like tree ID, birding, salamanders, and wildflower hikes. The state forest also hosts volunteer groups such as boy scouts, Eagle scouts and AmeriCorps members.
Kinsella worked with an Eagle Scout group to complete a nature trail for an elementary school for her environmental education community partnership project. She assisted with identifying the trees on the trail and designating educational points along the trail. She worked with the local correction system to have engraved signs designed for identifying the trees on the nature trail.
Amy feels that the certification program has changed her approach to teaching others. “We are in the process of evaluating our current program offerings and creating new programs that better meet curriculum standards. It was nice to see people who are passionate about providing a quality education program and to brainstorm about the evaluation process for program offerings," she said.
For more information about Holmes Educational State Forest visit North Carolina Educational State Forests and the Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs.