Thursday, August 17, 2023

Educator Spotlight: Chelsie Bobbitt

Chelsie Bobbitt recently completed her North Carolina Environmental Education Certification. Chelsie is the administrator and education coordinator for Alleghany Soil and Water Conservation District. She has an associate degree in animal science and is currently a senior at NC A&T Greensboro working on her bachelor’s degree in agriculture professional services. Chelsie grew up on a beef cattle farm in the mountains of North Carolina and she shows beef cattle at the local and state level. In her personal time, she loves being outside on the farm and playing with her sweet puppy Benji.

Chelsie says her favorite part of earning her certification was exploring new places in North Carolina. “I enjoyed meeting new people that have the same goals as I do and making new friends that I can call and ask for advice.”

For her community partnership project, Chelsie created a community garden with grant support from AppHealthCare. While teaching at local schools, Chelsie realized that many of the students did not know where their food comes from. “This really opened my eyes because I live in a small farming town and I grew up on a cattle farm, so it is natural for me to know where food comes from, but many students had no idea. I came back to my office and did some digging on this problem and realized it was a bigger issue than I thought. I did some research to figure out what I could do to fix this issue, and this is how I came up with the community garden.”

Chelsie started her project by teaching students at three elementary schools about the life cycle of plants, what plants need to survive and how to grow food. She says when the community heard about the project, people started donating supplies. “I had several classes with 4-H kids in the garden and families would stop by and pick veggies, and whatever was left over, I would take it to the local food closet. I chose to put the garden in the middle of town next to the park because the park is a very popular place during the summer and if families are at the park, they can just walk right over to the garden without having to drive.”

In terms of her approach to teaching, Chelsie says the program helped her realize how important hands-on lessons can be when teaching. She says the program also changed the way she thinks about environmental issues. “I never studied environmental issues before this program and now I think about them all the time. I look for ways I can help the environment by teaching others about local environmental issues.”  

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