- CTNC AmeriCorps Member Larissa Lopez Making A Different through Education (2016-07-28)
- Gonna Catch EE? Augmented Reality Games and Environmental Education (2016-07-22)
- Educator Spotlight - Erin Apple (2016-07-14)
- Educator Spotlight - Catrina Dillard (2016-06-28)
- AmeriCorps Member's Environmental Education Certification Project Engages High School Students to Help Monarchs (2016-06-17)
- NC Certified Environmental Educator's Project Revitalizes Public Space, Energizes Public Learning (2016-06-17)
- Certified Environmental Educator Publishes Carolina Explorers Magazine for Families and Educators (2016-06-16)
- Interactive GIS Map Helps Educators Explore the Natural and Cultural History of the Tar-Pamlico Region (2016-06-14)
- Free Film Screening Explores Carl Schenck’s Pivotal Role in Saving America’s Forests (2016-06-06)
- New Pittsboro Farm & Forest Trail Open: EE Certification Projects Part of Project (2016-05-19)
- Summer Lunchtime Speaker Series Kicks Off Next Week (2016-05-19)
- Environmental Educator Spotlight – Amy Kinsella (2016-04-27)
- River Basin Publications Win Printing Industry Award (2016-04-25)
- National Ocean Sciences Bowl Finals Held in Morehead City, NC (2016-04-22)
- State environmental agency encourages public to take part in Earth Day events (2016-04-18)
- Environmental Education is a “Natural” Fit for Libraries, Says Syracuse U Professor (2016-04-07)
- Science in the Great Outdoors (2016-04-05)
- Ranger Uses Environmental Education to Improve River Health and Educate Kids About the Environment (2016-03-31)
- NC's Environmental Education Website – Notice Something New? (2016-03-18)
- Sara Hallas Receives Conservation Communicator Award (2016-03-01)
- McCrory’s Environmental Department Connects NC Educators With Jobs (2016-01-21)
- NC Department of Public Instruction Hosts 5th Annual Meeting for Nonformal Educators (2015-12-14)
- NAAEE Hails History-Making Opportunities for Environmental Learning in Congressional Education Bill (2015-12-09)
- New K-12 Education Bill Passes House, Will Strengthen Environmental Education (2015-12-04)
- Partnership Assists Migrating Monarch Butterflies in Western North Carolina While Educating the Public (2015-11-19)
CTNC AmeriCorps Member Larissa Lopez Making A Different through Education
Larissa Lopez is serving with AmeriCorps, a ten-month national service program with positions offered by community and non-profit organizations. CTNC manages an AmeriCorps program that has placed 18 members with conservation and environmental groups throughout North Carolina. The program’s goals are to connect thousands of people to the outdoors and to develop future leaders in conservation. To learn more about CTNC’s AmeriCorps program, click here.
Larissa Lopez is serving as Educational Outreach Coordinator for Balsam Mountain Trust, a non-profit that manages and protects the Balsam Mountain Preserve in Sylva, NC. Through the Adopt-A-School program, the Trust is able to provide educational programming to local elementary school students.
Larissa teaches kids about wild animals and pollinators. What makes her programs special is that her students get to see live animals, and participate in real citizen science. Her younger students in the 1st and 2nd grades get to learn about pollinators, especially monarch butterflies, while her older students in the 4th and 5th grades get to see snakes and hawks.
“We visit classrooms multiple times during the year and at different grade levels,” says Larissa. “This format allows for deep student engagement with Balsam Mountain Trust staff and our animal ambassadors. It is a unique opportunity to observe the students’ change in knowledge and behavior over time.”
Although teaching hasn’t always been one of her primary interests, Larissa has come to realize how important outreach and education are for environmental non-profits. She already had plenty of experience in land management and resource stewardship, so she sought to use her AmeriCorps service term as an opportunity to round out her knowledge in an educational capacity. “Working in the non-profit sector often means being a ‘Jack-of-all-trades,’ so I feel strongly about assuming a variety of responsibilities.”
Education may be only one of many components of environmental work, but it does have its own rewards. “Being an informal educator allows me to engage directly with the public, spark a curiosity and passion for conservation in children, further my knowledge of the natural world, and polish my attentiveness to detail in planning, all important and rewarding experiences.”
After she completes her service term, Larissa hopes to find a career that combines her interests in land management and public engagement. “I am passionate about sustainable and ethically derived foods, so I have been looking to get involved with community gardens and school garden projects. These projects get students outside to observe nature and learn about the importance of caring for our natural resources.”
Gonna Catch EE? Augmented Reality Games and Environmental Education
Probably like many others in environmental education and related fields, we had not heard that much about Pokemon Go until a few weeks ago. Then suddenly we were scrambling to learn more about it and how it may affect educational facilities and programs.
It all started on July 8th with a #NCNatureFriday tweet about the N.C. Museum of Art Park. We had no idea what a Pokestop was...So we looked it up and thought, "Hmmm, what effect will this game have on nature centers, parks, science museums and environmental education programs?" Will it be the next geocaching?" We had no idea it would catch on so quickly.
The following Monday, probably half or more of the Tweets in our feed were about Pokemon Go. And it didn't take parks, museums, gardens, nature centers and other sites associated with environmental education and outdoor exploration to recognize the potential of, or at least the need to address, the new phenomenon.
Educator Spotlight - Erin Apple
Educator Spotlight - Catrina Dillard
AmeriCorps Member's Environmental Education Certification Project Engages High School Students to Help Monarchs
| Corrine, center, with some of her|
Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy AmeriCorps colleagues
|Corrine gets some supervision from one of Deerwoode's year-round residents|
The environmental education certification program requires a community-based partnership project, and Fretwell's is especially noteworthy. She worked to install a monarch waystation on land owned by Deerwoode Lodge and Cabins, a privately held resort located along the French Broad River south of Brevard, and also involved local high school students from the area in the project.
In 2003, 175 acres of the land were put into a conservation easement with the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) by owner Bill Mays. But Fretwell felt the land had even more potential to serve as an ecological asset to help wildlife. Bill’s son, Matt Mayes, recounts seeing hundreds of thousands of migrating Monarchs visiting the property’s flowering fields, and in recent years he has shared the Monarchs with the family’s next generation; “I’ve gone out in the field with my daughter and caught them but it’s nothing near to the millions that used to come through here when I was a kid,” Matt shares.
Hopefully many more Monarchs will return as a result of Fretwell's project. She worked with more than 50 Brevard High School agriculture students, who with help from other CMLC AmeriCorps members planted 275 native milkweed plants on the easement. The newly planted milkweed is critical to Monarch populations since milkweed is the sole host and food source for Monarch eggs and caterpillars. The adult butterflies and other important pollinators will benefit from milkweed nectar when the plants bloom in late summer, as well as from the other planted flowers, which will extend the bloom time of the field from June through October.
began each planting session with a short lesson about CMLC, land protection, habitat restoration, the Monarch life-cycle, as well as a demonstration of proper planting techniques. Students also received Monarch education materials from Monarch Watch, provided by Monarch Watch Conservation Specialist Joyce Pearsall who also joined in the planting day.
NC Certified Environmental Educator's Project Revitalizes Public Space, Energizes Public Learning
Certified Environmental Educator Publishes Carolina Explorers Magazine for Families and Educators
As part of her community partnership project for her environmental education certification, Seymour published Carolina Explorers Magazine, a family magazine about nature in North Carolina, from the mountains to the coast. Carolina Explorers is a fantastic field guide for educators and parents packed full of activities and wildlife investigations. Readers will find information on great places to visit and get outdoors, unique plants and animals in North Carolina, and even the best spots for sea kayaking.
As part of the project, Seymour shared the small format magazine with classrooms, libraries and educators. Seymour has received a lot of positive feedback. "Readers enjoy the the publication and learning about North Carolina nature and new places to explore," said Seymour.
Seymour anticipates taking on a more formal role as an Earth and Environmental Science teacher for the 2016-2017 school year. In addition to her work as a publisher and educator, Seymour has helped manage a Fraser fir tree farm for the past five years and established a small nature center at the farm.
When asked about the N.C. Environmental Education Certification Program Seymour said, “I think it is one of the best managed and most valuable programs for North Carolina and its educators. The program has helped me feel more comfortable in a teaching role, has improved my content knowledge, and has proved how effective (and fun) hands-on learning can be. I've collected and connected with, many valuable and credible resources I will use from now on.”
The certification is offered through the Department of Environmental Quality's Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs. For more information about the program, visit eenorthcarolina.org
For more information about Carolina Explorers Magazine, visit the website at ncexplorers.com
Interactive GIS Map Helps Educators Explore the Natural and Cultural History of the Tar-Pamlico Region
|Interactive GIS Map developed by the DEQ Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs|
|Laura McCoy, Erica Connery, Toni Abernathy examining samples created during a live tar kiln demonstration|
“We hope to make the program more sustainable by offering training to environmental educators in the field who can then support classroom teachers in their areas,” said Sarah Yelton, EGRET Program Manager, with UNC Institute for the Environment.
Free Film Screening Explores Carl Schenck’s Pivotal Role in Saving America’s Forests
The Department of Environmental Quality's Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs has partnered with the North Carolina Museum of History to bring a new documentary about Carl Schenck and his role in our nation’s conservation history to downtown Raleigh, Friday, June 17 at 7 p.m.
The North Carolina Museum of History will present a free screening of “America’s First Forest: Carl Schenck and the Asheville Experiment,” the first in-depth documentary film about legendary forester and educator Carl Schenck. The film, which debuted on national public television in April, tells the story of the German forester who managed over 100,000 acres of woodlands at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville and established the first forestry school in the United States. He helped launch the American conservation movement.
Join us for this wonderful opportunity to learn more about Schenck’s amazing story and his pivotal role in our nation’s history.
Visit the Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs website for more information.
New Pittsboro Farm & Forest Trail Open: EE Certification Projects Part of Project
Summer Lunchtime Speaker Series Kicks Off Next Week
This guest lecture series is hosted by the Department of Environmental Quality's Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs and features professionals from a wide range of environmental and science backgrounds representing local and state agencies, colleges and universities and organizations throughout the state.
Attendees are able to learn about a variety of subjects first-hand and interact directly with some of the best experts in their respective fields. In some cases, participants even head outdoors to explore urban nature, local architecture and green rooftops! The presentations are provided as professional development opportunities for downtown employees and is open to the public.
Lectures are held in the office’s Environmental Literacy Center from noon until 1:00 p.m. The upcoming series includes presentations from Robin Moore from the Natural Learning Initiative with “Natural Play and Learning,” Dr. Adrian Smith from the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences with “Social Insect Chemical Communication,” and Greg Morris from Walnut Creek Wetland Center who will lead an interpretive walking tour of the capital area’s tree species. The full line up can be found at http://www.eenorthcarolina.org/resource-center-elc.html
Environmental Educator Spotlight – Amy Kinsella
Kinsella worked with an Eagle Scout group to complete a nature trail for an elementary school for her environmental education community partnership project. She assisted with identifying the trees on the trail and designating educational points along the trail. She worked with the local correction system to have engraved signs designed for identifying the trees on the nature trail.
River Basin Publications Win Printing Industry Award
PICA represents the graphic communications industry in North and South Carolina. Since 1931, this trade association has been dedicated to advancing the success of the Carolinas’ printing and imaging industry. Working together with Printing Industries of America, the world’s largest graphic arts trade association, PICA provides training, resources, and a voice of advocacy on both a state and national level.
National Ocean Sciences Bowl Finals Held in Morehead City, NC
The text below features selections from the NOSB Media Advisory shared by N.C. Sea Grant.
Read the complete Media Advisory, with a list of teams and sponsors
Top High-School Scholars to Compete in 19th Annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl
Contact: Allison Hays, 202-787-1644, email@example.com
Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2016 as a courtesy to the National Ocean Sciences Bowl.
North Carolina Sea Grant is among the North Carolina sponsors for the event. Follow the events via Twitter: #NOSB16.NOSB
|North Carolina is being represented at NOSB by |
Walter Williams High School (Alamance County) Good luck!
WHO: Winning teams consisting of four to five high school students from 24 regional competitions will compete in the 19th Annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB), an education competition that tests students’ knowledge of ocean-related topics, which include cross-disciplines of biology, chemistry, policy, physics, and geology. The competition consists of buzzer-style, multiple-choice questions; longer, critical thinking-based team challenge questions; and the Science Expert Briefing, a mock congressional hearing where students present science recommendations on a piece of legislation, bettering their understanding on how science informs policy.
WHAT: The theme for this year’s NOSB Finals is “Our Changing Ocean: Science for Strong Coastal Communities.” This topic encompasses numerous scientific disciplines and encourages an increased understanding of the science needed to sustain strong coastal communities, including improving community awareness; addressing erosion and increasing coastal populations and development; restoring coastlines; protecting estuarine ecosystems and services; and improving coastal disaster projection, preparedness, and response. During the finals competition weekend, students will participate in a number of hands-on science activities, including a career mentoring event with leaders in the science field; a tour of Duke Marine Lab; and multiple field trips, including behind-the-scenes looks at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, a shark tagging trip aboard the R/V Capricorn, and a coastal marsh cleanup at Fort Macon State Park. The top teams at the NOSB Finals will receive an all-expense paid award trip to various locations around the world to conduct scientific research with field experts.
WHEN: April 21-24, 2016 — April 21: career event; April 22: field trips and opening ceremony; April 23-24: NOSB Finals Competition
WHERE: Carteret Community College, 3505 Arendell Street, Morehead City, North Carolina WHY: Most high-school students do not have the opportunity to study ocean science as part of their formal coursework. To fill this void, the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., created the NOSB as an educational forum to encourage and support the next generation of marine scientists, policy-makers, teachers, explorers, researchers, technicians, environmental advocates, and informed citizens to be stewards of the ocean. Many past NOSB participants have pursued college degrees and careers in ocean science, helping to solve the growing environmental, economic, and security challenges facing our ocean and planet.
State environmental agency encourages public to take part in Earth Day events
Trail hikes, stream clean-ups, nature tours, music and more await those who want to explore and learn about North Carolina’s diverse environment. The public can also follow and share events, environmental education news and cool nature stories on Twitter and Facebook by following and using the hashtag #NCEarthDay. Many of these Earth Day events are also part of the N.C. Science Festival, which lasts through April 24th. For more information N.C. Science Festival events near you, see ncsciencefestival.org
DEQ employees will be volunteering their time on Earth Day as well. The Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs is coordinating a DEQ Earth Day volunteer event on Friday, April 22. Raleigh area employees will be participating a stream clean up along a restored section of Rocky Branch that runs through N.C. State campus. Rocky Branch, a tributary of the Neuse, was once considered the most polluted stream in North Carolina. It now provides wildlife habitat, stormwater control, recreation and transportation along the Rocky Branch Greenway.
Environmental Education is a “Natural” Fit for Libraries, Says Syracuse U Professor
Science in the Great Outdoors
Blog post by Sean Higgins, Interpretation & Education Manger, North Carolina State Parks
Ranger Uses Environmental Education to Improve River Health and Educate Kids About the Environment
A park ranger from Hanging Rock State Park is making a difference in communities across North Carolina through environmental education. Darius Pollard completed the North Carolina Environmental Education Certification Program offered through the Department of Environmental Quality, which he began as an AmeriCorps member at New River State Park in Ashe County.
NC's Environmental Education Website – Notice Something New?
The system also allows the participating states to share postings for grants, jobs, curriculum and other resources, greatly maximizing the capacity of each individual state’s educational outreach mission. Many of these shared services were provided free to the office through this collaborative grant.
Some examples of what you might be missing on the site:
A statewide listing of educational facilities such as parks, nature and science centers, museums, botanical gardens, arboretums, coastal reserves, educational state forests, the NC Aquariums and Zoo.
New resources such as the Egret Curriculum, a place-based curriculum designed to increase knowledge of current watershed science and environmental issues related to the Tar-Pamlico watershed in North Carolina and that aligns all lessons with 5th grade core curriculum and essential standards.
A statewide listing of jobs and internships in the field of environmental education.
Opportunities for grantsand contests.
A thriving online community of educators through a statewide listserv, Twitter and Facebook
So check out the updated site and join the state's community of environmental educators.
Sara Hallas Receives Conservation Communicator Award
Sara Hallas, coastal education coordinator with the N.C. Coastal Federation and a N.C. Certified Environmental Educator was honored for her outstanding environmental education and outreach efforts by the Hugh Hammond Bennett Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society.
From the N.C. Coastal Federation's Coastal Review Online.
RALEIGH — Sara Hallas, coastal education coordinator with the N.C. Coastal Federation’s northeast office in Manteo, recently received the 2016 Conservation Communicator Award from the Hugh Hammond Bennett Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society.
The award, presented Saturday in Raleigh, honored Hallas’ outstanding environmental education and outreach, including organizing the Coastal Environmental Educators Network, a coalition of environmental education organizations and professionals in northeastern North Carolina. The network’s mission is to create a sense of value for the region’s natural and cultural resources through partnership and networking. The network consists of more than 30 member organizations, including state, federal, university and nonprofit organizations.
To read the full story, visit the Coastal Review Online at http://www.coastalreview.org/2016/02/hallas-named-2016-conservation-communicator
McCrory’s Environmental Department Connects NC Educators With Jobs
NC Department of Public Instruction Hosts 5th Annual Meeting for Nonformal Educators
This marks the fifth year for the meeting. Educators representing a wide variety of nonprofit and city, county, state and federal agencies and facilities, including, nature centers, science museums, gardens, arboretums, aquariums, state parks, the N.C. Forest Service, the Wildlife Resources Commission and Soil and Water Conservation Districts attended. The participants shared ways they can improve standards-based program offerings for schools and partner more effectively with teachers, school administrators and the Department of Public Instruction. “North Carolina has a unique partnership that encourages collaboration between schools, school districts, NC DPI and the nonformal education community to support science learning and environmental literacy,” said Debra Hall, elementary science consultant for the Department of Public Instruction.
The meeting provides an opportunity for educators to get updates on curriculum standards for NC DPI and instructs them on how to access support documents and resources to help them align their educational programs and field trips with the state’s essential standards for science. Participants heard from several guests speakers, including Renee Strnad with Extension Forestry at North Carolina State University who gave an overview of the North American Association’s Guidelines for Excellence in Environmental Education. These guidelines set professional standards for environmental literacy and work in concert with both national and state level educational standards.
Chris Goforth, the head of citizen science with the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, spoke to the group on how citizen science can be used to engage classroom teachers and students in authentic science experiences. Tom Randolph, lead interpretation and education ranger with Mt. Jefferson State Natural Area, discussed best practices for curriculum-based programs and field trips emphasizing hands-on, outdoor experiences for students and their connection to better classroom performance.
The meeting was held on the same day that the new Elementary and Secondary Education Act was signed into law. The Every Student Succeeds Act includes language that supports environmental education and environmental literacy programs. The act also supports hands-on learning” and “field-based or service learning” to enhance understanding of STEM subjects which will provide additional opportunities for environmental science education programs. “North Carolina has one of the strongest nonformal environmental education communities in country and the inclusion of field-based environmental science support in the Every Student Succeeds Act will further enhance the already diverse and effective environmental science programming in our state,” said Lisa Tolley, program manager with the Department of Environmental Quality.
NAAEE Hails History-Making Opportunities for Environmental Learning in Congressional Education Bill
North American Association for Environmental Education sees passage of Every Student Succeeds Act (also known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act or ESEA) as big win, opening avenues for students and teachers in environmental and nature literacy.
New K-12 Education Bill Passes House, Will Strengthen Environmental Education
“ESSA is a tremendous victory for advocates of environmental education who’ve fought long and hard to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards with outdoor, hands-on learning programs,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “I commend my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for passing a comprehensive education reform package that has immense benefits for students, teachers and schools across the country.”
The environmental education provision contained in ESSA comes from the No Child Left Inside Act (NCLI), a bipartisan bill authored by Congressman Sarbanes that is designed to enhance American students’ environmental literacy. First introduced in 2007, NCLI was reintroduced this year in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Sarbanes and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) with the support of 41 original co-sponsors. It was also reintroduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).
NCLI would provide federal grant funding for teachers who design and implement environmental education programs in, and importantly, outside of the classroom. By encouraging new environmental curricula, the bill would also cultivate partnerships and strengthen relationships between school districts, colleges, environmental nonprofits, parks and other community-based organizations.
ESSA is expected to pass the Senate next week and advance to the President’s desk, where he is expected to sign it into law. In addition to improving environmental education, the bill contains a number of reforms that will help provide American students with a high-quality, twenty-first century education, including:
- Helping states improve low-performing schools and enhance teacher quality;
- Setting higher standards and improving learning outcomes for all students;
- Dedicating more funding to bolster STEM education, student health and literacy initiatives and afterschool programs;
- Identifying and acting on ways to close the achievement gap;
- Strengthening access to, and the quality of, early childhood education programs;
- Maintaining important information about student performance; and
- Providing greater funding flexibility to better support students and school.
Partnership Assists Migrating Monarch Butterflies in Western North Carolina While Educating the Public
Chelsea worked with Nina Veteto, the founder of Monarch Rescue, Tom Fanslow with the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and other AmeriCorps Project Conserve members to establish the patch of milkweed that will aid the monarchs during fall migration.
The habitat is located on property managed by Super-Sod, a sod farm in Horse Shoe, North Carolina. It is protected by a conservation easement on about 340 acres, and a buffer easement on about three miles of the French Broad River. The property includes a common area that is not currently being utilized and is mowed regularly into a lawn. “This area provided the perfect location to plant a pollinator habitat. As monarchs lose habitat around the country, it is important to create new areas for them to feed, mate, and grow,” said Ms. Rath.