Monday, May 14, 2018

Educator Spotlight: Janet Harrison

Janet with Sam Trogdon, Director of Bond Park, Andrew Marsden, Boat House Manager at Bond Park and John Donachie who works at Boat House with a Dogwood Tree and sign in front
Janet Harrison recently completed the N.C. Environmental Education Certification Program. Janet works part time at Walnut Creek Wetland Park developing and leading nature programs for all ages. Janet credits the certification program with allowing her to change careers.

When Janet isn’t teaching or preparing lessons, she interacts with park visitors, helps maintain the park's nature center, its trails and bird feeders. She also cares for the wide array of animals at the center including a corn snake, king snake, box turtle, blind frog and Madagascar roaches.

Janet’s favorite part of earning her certification was going to the classes, networking with other educators and experiencing different teaching methods. Janet said everyone worked together to enhance the experience of each participant. 

Working on a tree identification project at Bond Park in Cary for her community partnership project was the experience in the program that stood out for Janet. “Each person I talked with asked different questions and expressed both interest and excitement for the project. As I took pictures and analyzed them, I loved the challenge of playing with sunlight at different times of day to gain the best effect.” 

For her tree trail project, Janet used a section of trail at Bond Park that has a good sampling of the native trees in the area. She identified the trees and developed a brochure that provides key facts about the trees, their roles and benefits. Each tree was identified with a sign giving the common name of that tree. The Tree ID Trail will be centrally located along an existing trail that is close to parking, the boathouse, a picnic area and one of the existing shelters making it convenient for both organized programs and self-guided observation.  

“Many visitors come to Bond Park to enjoy walking, running and biking the trails through the trees.  With a Tree ID Trail at the center of their paths we can open a door to enhance visitors’ awareness, knowledge and understanding of trees, the role they play and where and how they are best planted to thrive.”

Janet says participating in the certification program changed her approach to teaching others. “Experiential education has always been one of my favorite ways to teach and the process of participating in the environmental education classes taught me a multitude of new techniques to add to my portfolio.  I am relishing the opportunity to apply these techniques as I develop new classes in my new role.”
Find out more about Fred G. Bond Metro Park in Cary. 

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