Lianna Koberoski, a nonformal educators in Haywood County completed her NC Environmental Education Certification. Lianna has been teaching youth informally for the last few years and recently transitioned to a landscaping and garden maintenance position where she says the plant identification skills she learned in the certification program have become extremely helpful.
Lianna says her favorite part of the certification program was taking classes about North Carolina's native plants and wildlife. She says the experience that stood out for her was the “Investigating Your Environment” workshop which is a program of the NC Forest Service. “It was so much fun, we learned methods and activities to teach certain topics, visited beautiful areas, and got to be at "camp" for a week.”
For her community partnership project, Lianna partnered with Root Cause Farm, Asheville Greenworks and Royce’s Tree Service to install a living fence of fruiting and flowering trees at a community garden in Fairview North Carolina. “The community garden, Root Cause Farm, is in the heart of Fairview and addresses the issue of food insecurity in the community and surrounding area. Root Cause Farm is a unique kind of community garden - it is a giving garden. This means that all the food grown at this garden is given away, for free, to community members in need. The garden accomplishes this by donating produce to the local food pantry, hosting “share markets,” and donating food to another organization, Bounty and Soul which distributes food to the community of Black Mountain.”
To provide additional resources about this project, Lianna created a section to be added to the self-guided pamphlet with educational information about the trees and their intended uses. These trees will become part of a sanctuary space that community members can visit and connect with, as well as provide fruit to be given away.
Lianna says the program enhanced her knowledge and gave her different methods of asking questions to students. “I am more aware of the social issues surrounding the environment, access to nature as well as education.”