Thursday, August 22, 2019

Educator Spotlight: Chandler Holland

Congratulations to Chandler Holland for completing the North Carolina Environmental Education Certification program. Holland is a sophomore at Warren Wilson College, where she is pursuing an Integrated Studies major and Business minor. She is also developing a community organization called Red Ridge, NC which serves to engage, educate and employ the local community through their programs and micro business opportunities.

The multi-day workshops that Holland participated in stood out as her favorite parts of the certification program. She found the "Heart-Based Environmental Education Training" at Pickards Mountain Eco-Institute particularly influential. In this workshop, Holland learned about the 8 Shields Program, which she credits with increasing her connection to nature and providing her with tools to share that connection with others. Holland also enjoyed the Certified Interpretive Guide training because "the focus on interpretation rather than education opened up an entire other part of sharing  information and creating engagement that I hadn't really thought about before."

For her community partnership project, Holland created the Saxapahaw Island Park Nature Bingo activity which uses the local flora and fauna on bingo playing cards. These cards use photographs from the trails and riverbanks of the park to encourage both children and adults to engage directly with the nature on the island." The project will enhance each visitor's experience in the park, as it encourages exploration beyond the playground and onto the many trails through the more natural areas." Additionally, participants are encouraged to share their findings on Instagram and Pinterest to increase the reach of the project and catalog findings.

The certification program provided Holland with a structure to further develop her teaching experiences and taught her different forms of teaching. "Though I have been a non-formal educator since I was 10 years old, I had never really been given a structure to form my teaching experiences around. Through the certification program, I have been given access to multiple formats to mold and combine into what I need and they are invaluable resources into developing my approach to teaching."

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