Congratulations to Amy Eldredge on completing her N.C. Environmental Education Certification. Eldredge currently is the Maui Program Associate with the Marine Sanctuary Foundation in Kihei, Hawaii. She leads the volunteer program which includes recruiting, training and scheduling new volunteers, hosts professional development meetings and oversees the visitor center.
Her favorite part of the certification process was "taking the classes from such experienced and personable educators... I honestly retook some workshops because they are fun to attend and help with the retention of material. You never know what different birds you may see each time when going on a birding program!"
For her community partnership project, Eldredge organized and presented bat workshops on Bald Head Island and surrounding areas. Working with BHI Conservancy, local organizations, and N.C. state employees, she created lectures focused on bats and local pollinators with topics ranging from native gardening to bat boxes. "Two of the three workshops included hands-on projects, which they were able to take with them. These projects included creating native seed bombs to attract pollinator species once planted and in bloom as well as constructing bat boxes to be set up around the island at predetermined locations." This project seeks to educate people on the importance of bats to local ecology and "help break the stigma that bats are bad." Eldredge's project also help the local community become involved in citizen science initiatives and increased participation in creating healthy pollinator environments.
Through this program, Eldredge learned new teaching techniques to present environmental information in an interesting and age-appropriate way. "This program is a great way to train those not formally trained in environmental education. I learned how to apply real-world issues to a classroom in a formal and informal setting and how to share these environmental issues appropriately with various age groups."