Frances Bozak, a park ranger at Hammocks Beach State Park recently completed her Environmental Education Certification. As a non-formal educator with North Carolina State Parks, Frances provides programs for families and school groups.
Frances says her favorite part of the program was traveling around the state and the outdoor, instructor-led professional development.
For her community partnership project, Frances worked with Coastal Carolina University and Carolina Kids Fish, a non-profit organization to create opportunities for kids and adults in the local community to get outside and fish for free. “It can be expensive to go fishing after you buy all the bait and tackle and some parents do not know where they can go to take their kids to fish. We also saw a lack of children getting out in the community to play. We provided a location, bait, and tackle for community members to use. This gave kids a chance to get outdoors and learn about their local environment.” Frances says because the program was free and advertised on Facebook and to local schools, it gave everyone regardless of their background an opportunity to participate. “It’s a great way for kids to learn about their local environment. By teaching them about the local ecosystem and how they can enjoy it, we give children and parents a connection with the world around them. We provide an opportunity for children to be outdoors and experience nature through all their senses in a safe environment.”
Frances says that participating in the online air quality workshop offered by the Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Air Quality, helped her understand how much air pollution has affected our state. When asked if the program had changed the way she approached teaching she said, gave her different strategies for adapting programs for different groups.