Monday, August 1, 2022

Rhonda Horne, A School Counselor at Lumberton High School in Robeson County Completes Her NC Environmental Education Certification

Rhonda Horne, Katie Fountain, Gail McLean

Rhonda Horne, a school counselor at Lumberton High School in Robeson County recently completed her North Carolina Environmental Education Certification. Rhonda’s school is one of two high schools in the county, and in addition to being the school's counselor, she serves as the school's registrar, 504 Coordinator, and alternative program liaison. In her personal time, she enjoys organic gardening, bird watching, camping, hiking, and traveling to state parks and national parks. “I enjoy anything that takes me close to nature whether it be the mountains, seashore, or prairie. I have visited all North Carolina State Parks and Recreation areas.” 

Rhonda says she enjoyed all parts of the program but especially liked the site visits. “As part of the NC State Park Passport Program, I visited all the state parks and recreation areas in three years. I started with the mountain region, then the coast and finally the piedmont. Each area was abundant with its own flora, fauna, wildlife, and regional history. During those visits I explored museums, battlegrounds, and botanical gardens in each area. I learned a lot about North Carolina, its history, people, and wildlife.” 

To complete her teaching requirement, Rhonda volunteered at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island. “Teaching at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island last summer was the experience of a lifetime. I spent a week volunteering and working in a variety of workstations and departments. Each day I had a different assignment working with a variety of animals. It was a big learning curve for me because I had to learn about the animals while teaching children and adult visitors. One day I would work with turtles and the next day, sharks.”

For her community partnership project, Rhonda partnered with the Public Library of Robeson County, The North Carolina Arboretum, and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Whiteville to install a pollinator garden and wildlife viewing station as part of The North Carolina Arboretum’s K-8 grade citizen science project, ecoEXPLORE. The main library in Lumberton shares a beautiful garden with the City of Lumberton and Rhonda worked with a volunteer master gardener Gail McLean, and the director of the library, Katie Fountain, to make the project a reality. “I wanted to do something new in my community that would be far-reaching and accessible to all youth in Robeson County. There are many children that rarely leave the county and now they can become a part of citizen science while discovering and learning about nature and wildlife.” 

Rhonda says after participating in the program, she has a more positive and optimistic outlook on the impact educators, programs, and agencies are having on the public’s awareness of environmental issues and concerns. “I think such programs as the ecoEXPLORE program and the North Carolina Environmental Education Certification are grassroots approaches that aim to educate and teach environmental awareness in a manner that leads an individual and groups to think for themselves and formulate their own opinions about how they as individuals can impact changes in small or large ways, working individually or within their own community.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments to this site are subject to the N.C. Public Records Law and may be disclosed to third parties. Please identify yourself in posts. Off-topic posts, "spam" or posts with offensive or inappropriate language will be removed.