Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Wilkes County Educator Kayla Mounce Completes Her N.C. Environmental Education Certification

Kayla Mounce recently completed her Environmental Education Certification. Kayla is a Natural Resource Conservationist at Wilkes Soil and Water Conservation District. She works with the education program and writes conservation plans for farms that receive state cost-share funds. She also teaches a GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Course at Appalachian State University and loves to hike in her free time.

Kaya says that the Growing Up WILD workshop at Grandfather Mountain was her favorite environmental education experience. “My mom is a Pre-K teacher, so I have had fun implementing some of those lessons with her class, even during the time of online learning due to COVID-19.” Kayla enjoyed the instructional workshops and receiving curriculum guides that she could use as resources for teaching.

For her community partnership project, Kayla was able to coordinate a regional invitation land judging competition for high school FFA (Future Farmers of America) teams. Kayla was very active in FFA in high school and land judging had a positive impact on her career, so she wanted to make an impact in her community by hosting the event. She says that the number of events was declining because of the challenging content and soil science it entails. “Because of the decrease in participation in recent years, there was not a regional competition before my project. I wanted to give students exposure to how the contest worked before competing at the state event. I was glad to see this event bring out new teams and I hope to make it an annual event. It even led to conversation and planning for an advisor training.”

Kayla says that the certification program has helped her in several ways. “I am definitely more aware of teaching methods and ways to address student questions and lead group discussions. I also write grants for my organization so learning how to write objectives in the Methods of Teaching Environmental Education workshop has been extremely helpful. I like to teach in a way that allows students to come to their own conclusions and I have learned a lot more about the importance of particular wildlife, such as salamanders.”

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