Friday, October 7, 2022

Educator Spotlight: Brooke Hullings

Brooke Hullings recently completed her NC Environmental Education Certification. Brooke, a former educator at the NC Zoo, joined the National Guard during the pandemic. During the time away from her full-time position, she has enjoyed spending time with the children in her life and completing her certification project. Brooke enjoys any opportunity to educate children and adults and enjoys hiking, geocaching, camping, and biking. “My goal is to instill a love of nature in the children and adults around me by sparking their curiosity.”

Brooke’s favorite part of earning her certification was being able to visit as many state parks as possible. “I used state parks for my site visits and luckily was able to complete the State Park Passport Book. It was a fun adventure exploring so much of the state.”

She says the experience that stood out for her was an activity during one of the workshops where a statement was presented, and you had to pick a stance. “I strongly agreed with one statement but then, I talked with someone who strongly disagreed, and they presented points that I had not considered. I left the conversation with more open eyes and realized it was not so cut and dry.” She said these discussions are important to have on a one-on-one basis.

For her community partnership project, Brooke created a pollinator station wthin a townhouse community. “The garden is filled with native flowers and positioned so its viewable from the sidewalk as well as the community. A large oak holds the new bench swing that we installed offering an invitation for the community to spend some time outside.” Brooke partnered with The Oaks of Guildford, the townhouse community, the City of Greensboro White Street Landfill, and Freecycle to make the project a reality. “I wanted to plant a pollinator garden with mostly natives, to invite nature back into a barren urban environment. The community I chose to implement this in is a manicured community willing to change and become more nature friendly. The location of the site is near enough to the road and sidewalk that I hope to inspire others to do something similar.”

Brooke says the program changed the way she views environmental issues. “I see there are many things causing environmental issues, more than I knew before, but I have also seen how everyone can do a little something to help in their own way. Most people want to help in some way, they just don't know how, or they want to do something bigger but don't have the time. Linking people with the desire for change and those with the time or resources to spare is a key part of making change.”

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