Michael Wood, a park ranger at Stone Mountain State Park in Roaring Gap, North Carolina recently completed the N.C. Environmental Education Certification Program.
Wood oversees resource management at the park and provides educational programs to the public and to school groups. This is in addition to his law enforcement duties.
One of Wood’s favorite parts of the program was gaining experience and resources for providing children’s programs from workshops such as Growing Up WILD and Aquatic WILD which are provided through the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
Another experience that stood out for Wood was the Civilian Conservation Corps workshop he participated in at Hanging Rock. “We listened to experiences from workers who worked in the area building dams, bridges and other facilities. There is a lot of history and heritage to be gained by these types of workshops."
For his community partnership project, Wood developed a beginner’s fly fishing program in which participants were given the opportunity to learn about rules and regulations, knot tying, casting, fly selection and given the opportunity to gain actual fishing experience at no charge. All of the equipment was provided including rods, reels, and flies to stimulate interest in the sport and to help aid financial constraints. The project was a partnership with Trout Unlimited and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. “This program was a great success. All the participants successfully learned to tie knots and cast as well as several of the participants catching trout in the delayed harvest stream that runs through the park.”
Wood said that participating in the program changed his approach to teaching others. “The program allowed me to focus more on offering diverse programs to the public to further facilitate their learning and understanding. My awareness of the importance of identifying environmental issues has changed significantly and I try to design programs to stimulate or foster a sense of stewardship for my participants."
To learn more about Stone Mountain State Park, visit the park’s website at http://www.ncparks.gov/stone-mountain-state-park. For more information about the N.C. Environmental Education Certification Program, visit the Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs’ website at www.eenorthcarolina.org