Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Educator Spotlight - Jake Swinson

Jake Swinson, a park technician for Wake County Parks, Recreation & Open Space and environmental educator for the City of Raleigh recently completed his NC Environmental Education Certification. 

Jake says working two positions creates variety in his day-to-day work and keeps him working in different locations and multitasking. “Some days I'm opening the preserves or providing educational programming to families and school groups. On other days, I may be doing natural resource surveys or trail maintenance... no two days are the same and I enjoy that! Outside of work I like spending time with my wife and dog, playing music, and going hiking/camping with family and friends. I've been piecing the Appalachian Trail together over several years and hope to finish it soon!”

Jake says his favorite parts of the program were learning new things, visiting new places and meeting new people and the community partnership project he led. “Of the many great experiences within the certification, the overnight camping site visit with my dad at Goose Creek State Park was probably the highlight.” 

For his community partnership project, Jake planted Longleaf Pines at Sandy Pines Preserve in Wendell with help from Wake the Forest Foundation and from volunteers from the community. Jake says, “Although this species is historically native to this location, in recent centuries, it has been diminished greatly. These newly planted trees will establish habitats for different animals, provide a historical, cultural, and environmental centerpiece for educational programs offered by the county, and help to provide cleaner air to the area!”

Jake says that participating in the program helped him become comfortable teaching school-aged children and increased his awareness of the extent of people’s involvement with the environment and environmental education. 


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