Thursday, August 8, 2019

Educator Spotlight: Ashley Meredith

Ashley Meredith just completed her N.C. Environmental Education Certification. Ashley is the program coordinator at the Durham Public Schools Hub Farm, an outdoor educational facility for the school district.

Her favorite part of earning her certification was "meeting other folks working towards their certification... I enjoyed networking with others as well as brainstorming to fix common issues that arise at our workplaces." Ashley also found the Methods of Teaching Environmental Education course to be useful since she didn't previously have any formal training in education. "It was nice to have a more formal class to learn about some childhood developmental stages as well as different techniques for teaching outdoors."

For her community partnership project, Ashley planned and hosted the Hub Farm Spring Festival on World Bee Day, an event that highlighted teachers' outdoor education projects and fun on the farm. Ashley wanted to raise awareness of the Hub Farm and the resources it offers to community members and teachers. She partnered with BOLD (Building Outdoor Learning in Durham) fellows, teachers who had won mini-grants to do outdoor education projects at their schools. She also worked with other community groups in outdoor education to provide activities like canoeing, tree climbing, and arts and crafts. "By providing space and activities for families and individuals to have positive experiences outdoors, especially younger children, we hope that we helped shape their values and attitudes regarding the outdoors."

Ashley found that the certification program impacted how she plans for lessons. "I see the value in planning and practicing lessons as well as preparing an exceptional learning environment. I also know that there is a lot of curriculum out there, so when looking for something new, I don't try to reinvent the wheel, but instead try to modify other lessons that already exist."

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