Erin Apple recently completed her N.C. Environmental Education Certification. Apple works as a park technician of programs at Harris Lake County Park and the American Tobacco Trail designing, marketing and leading a full calendar of public and group programs, outreach efforts and special events in Wake County.
In addition to her programming, Apple works with volunteers and assists with park operation, customer service and natural resource management such as removal of invasive species and prescribed burning. When she isn’t working, Apple enjoys hiking, kayaking, yoga, writing and gardening.
For her community partnership project, Apple designed, built and narrated an interactive public display on plant photorespiration for the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences’ Natural World Investigation Lab. The project, which is still on rotating display in the museum, added to their archive of public displays and educates museum visitors (homeschoolers, school groups and the general public) about the botany and the complexity of plants on both a cellular and environmental level.
Apple had many valuable experiences during her certification process. “Traveling to workshops was always such a rewarding experience, it's hard to pick just one favorite part, but I would have to say I enjoyed the Advanced WILD (offered through the Wildlife Resources Commission) workshops and especially the Rare Plants of North Carolina workshop (offered through NCSU) the most," noted Apple. While I teach kids more than any other group, I thoroughly enjoy working with adults, and I most enjoy attending workshops that teach more advanced scientific material - it's refreshing and important to continually expand my ecological knowledge after completing my degree.”
Apple also mentioned the Methods of Teaching Environmental Education workshop, which is required for all enrollees. “I really felt like I was going somewhere with my certification after completing the Methods workshop and that I had gained a lot of the valuable insight this certification aims to provide. I brought what I learned into my teaching,” she said.
In addition to the benefits from instructional workshops such as Project WET which focuses on the way people use water resources, Apple noted that the practical applications were valuable. “Practicing activities at workshops with other educators and learning their methods, trials, failures and successes helped me to see where I needed improvement and how to better myself as an educator. I was also able to share my own experiences thus far in my young career, and I believe the certification helped me to learn the best ways to more effectively reach a variety of audiences,” said Apple.
For more information about Harris Lake County Park visit the park's website . For more information about the Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs or the N.C. Environmental Education Certification Program visit www.eenorthcarolina.org