Maya Revell is a graduate student in the Master of Arts in Sustainability program at Wake Forest University. Through this interdisciplinary program, she is exploring the intersections of education, environment, and equity. Maya is also a Fellow with the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, a private foundation with a mission of improving the quality of live for North Carolina residents.
Maya says her favorite part of earning the Environmental Education Certification was making connections with the environmental education community across the state while learning about how to be an effective educator. “Of all the amazing experiences I had, the certification experience that stands out to me is my teaching experience with the Haw River Assembly during their annual Learning Celebration. This celebration took place over a span of three weeks, and I had the opportunity to empower young students and provide them with tools to protect their local waterways. Also, this was my first experience teaching with the Stormwater SMART Program through the Piedmont Triad Regional Council which makes it even more memorable!”
For her community partnership project, Maya organized the first Bio Blitz at Cates Farm Park with the City of Mebane, NC for Alamance County Creek Week. Maya’s project had a positive impact on the community. “Community residents were able to come to the park and engage with community entities such as NC Wildlife Resources Commission, Elon University and Haw River Assembly. During the event, families got to participate in citizen science activities, learn how to identify macroinvertebrates, and take inventory of the native plants and animals along Mill Creek in Alamance County. After the event, we were able to upload the species that were identified so that others could view their findings.”
Maya says the certification program provided her with strategies to engage younger learners in an effective way. “As someone who had worked more in educating 8th graders and peers in college, I did not have much experience in how to effectively teach students in grades K-5. The certification program showed me the importance of play-based learning for children.”
While Maya doesn’t think the program changed the way she thinks about environmental issues, she says it has shown her the value that education has in guiding others to make sustainable choices for the environment. “Because of the systemic and interconnected nature of many societal problems, this certification program has aided me in developing curriculum and teaching about the environment in a way that demonstrates this interconnectedness to students.”