Jessica Stitt recently completed the North Carolina Environmental Education Certification Program. Stitt works at Wilmington Water Tours, a boat company in downtown Wilmington that specializes in eco-history tours on the Cape Fear River. She has been helping the company develop an education program. Stitt also works with Carolina Ocean Studies, a company that takes school groups out to a barrier island to teach them about the ecology of the island.
Stitt says her favorite part about earning her certification was traveling to different state parks and recreation areas to attend workshops. “I have enjoyed gaining more experience as an educator, I have already used the materials from each and every one of the workshops.” She plans to visit more parks while working on her continuing education requirement for the program.
For her community partnership project, Stitt working with state park rangers and office staff to create signage for the new Carolina Beach State Park Fitness Trail. As part of the project, she incorporated QR codes on signage at each station – one with information about the proper exercise and the other with information about an animal that does a similar exercise. This created a fun and educational way to tie the trail to animals found in the region.
Stitt says the certification program changed the way she approached teaching. “It allowed me to expand my knowledge of different lesson plans but also allowed me to meet other educators and learn about their experiences. It also helped me network and learn from others as well, which allows me to use more resources to teach.”
She also notes changes in how she views environmental issues after completing the program. “After participating in the certification program, my passion for teaching and sharing my knowledge with others increased and showed me the importance in instilling stewardship in those around me to keep our environment safe for future generations.”
In her personal time, Stitt enjoys going to the beach, surfing, volunteering with Cape Fear River Watch and with Friends of Pleasure Island State Parks group of which she currently serves as secretary.
To learn more about the N.C. Environmental Education Certification Program, visit the Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs website at www.eenorthcarolina.org