Welcome once again to the EENC Board Member Spotlight! This month, we highlight Erin Lineberger, your EENC Piedmont Section Chair. Erin is an environmental educator with Gaston Natural Resources.
Erin grew up in what she considered to be a little patch of natural paradise, on the edge of a bottomland, hardwood swamp in eastern NC. In the summer, it was humid, buggy, and dense. In the winter, it was a haven for year-long resident birds and spring peepers on warm nights. It was just 20 acres, but it connected to neighbors' forested land as well; a green ribbon of floodplain cocooning a small tributary on its way to the Neuse. Erin can remember trying to map it when she was in the second grade, like Lewis and Clark. Such exploits were encouraged by her parents.
In middle and high school, Erin's primary passion was participation in a school club called, "Envirothon." She didn't know the word "environmental education" then, but they traveled from the mountains to the coast in search of new species and ecosystems to experience. She thought she wanted to be an environmental journalist, but after a high school career full of extracurricular activities and AP classes (read: deadlines, and not enough time to meet them), Erin decided she was her best self in the woods. Her mom, who was a 9th grade Earth & Environmental Science teacher at that point, suggested environmental education. She decided to go into Natural Resources at NCSU during the spring of her senior year, and from that point on, EE was her end goal.
College included meetings with people like Renee Strnad and Kathryn Stephenson, as well as summer EE internships. Erin also sought out a backpacking trip with Montreat College and learned about their new Master's of Environmental Education program from Dottie Shuman. She began her EE certification and the field unfolded for her like a map. The more EE she did, the more she wanted. She was hooked!
Following graduation, Erin worked one season in a residential position in West Virginia and moved back to NC to start her Master's of Environmental Education at Montreat College. She also entered AmeriCorps Project Conserve as an Environmental Educator with the North Carolina Arboretum. One year and a Master's Degree later, Erin came full circle and got her first permanent position with a Soil and Water Conservation District, where part of her job is to train the next generation of Envirothon students.
When Erin moved to the Charlotte area, the word on the street was all about the lack of connection between EE people and programs in the area. EENC responded by creating a Piedmont Section, and Joy Shuck took the helm as Piedmont Section Chair. Erin knew Joy from a season at the Whitewater Center and when Joy stepped down from her position, she recommended the position to Erin. She eagerly agreed, wanting to continue what Joy had started.
Erin's primary upcoming projects include hosting a mini-conference this year followed next year by the first ever Piedmont Section conference. Erin believes both will do a lot for educators in the region, and will bring more folks into the fold.
Let's wrap up with three fun facts about Erin!
Looking for a little financial help to get to the EENC 2018 conference? Apply for a scholarship! Full and half scholarships are available, but get your application in soon. Applications are due TODAY, May 21,
We look forward to reading your application!
Do you plan to attend the 2018 EENC Conference and/or Research Symposium, but need a little help to make it happen? Apply now for a conference scholarship! Full and partial scholarships are available. Preference will be given to students, teachers, rangers, EENC members, and first time conference attendees.
Scholarship applications are due May 21st, and you will be notified of your decision by June 11th.
EENC Piedmont & Western Section Event
Saturday, June 15, 2018, 9am-5pmCamp T.N. Spencer; Concord, NC
REGISTRATION OPEN NOW!
The Piedmont and Western sections of the Environmental Educators of North Carolina are uniting to host the 2018 Nature is Calling! Mini-Conference at the beautiful Camp T.N. Spencer Park in Concord, NC from 9 am – 5 pm on June 15th, 2018. This conference will be a summer kick-off, bringing together formal and non-formal educators who want to incorporate environmental education in engaging, innovative, and meaningful ways. Our theme, "Nature is Calling," invites participants to relax and unwind in our greatest classroom: the outdoors.
This full and inspiring day will offer a variety of workshops (full schedule will be posted on the event listing soon!) that will empower you to get your students outside - nature is calling them, too! The outdoors not only serves as a wall-less classroom, but as a vital tool to teach across the curriculum, making learning relevant and meaningful for thoughtful, young minds. Please join us and walk away with a toolbox full of best practices to encourage curiosity and inquiry in your own programs.
Come early to enjoy a light breakfast during our networking hour from 8 am to 9 am. A cookout lunch will also be provided as part of the event. Following the conference, you are invited to socialize with us at Cabarrus Brewing Company over free beer and food truck snacks.
We are keeping the costs very low to minimize any barriers of your attendance. Registration fee is $15 for EENC Members and $20 for non-members. Formal educators (i.e. classroom teachers) with school ID will receive a full refund upon attendance at the conference.
We have limited space for this event, so please register as soon as you can. Registration will close on May 30th at the latest, or as soon as conference fills.
Please spread the word to all those that might benefit from this rich educational and networking experience!
It's time once again for the Board Spotlight! This month, learn all about your EENC secretary, Tanya Poole, She is an outreach educational specialist for the Wildlife Resources Commission Pisgah Center.
Tanya started her EE Certification in college and continued to work on it while she taught 4th grade in a public school. She also worked as an education director for a camp in the summer time. Eventually, she landed a regional educator job with the NCWRC. She has a B.S. in Elementary Ed (minor in Biology) and a M.S. in Environmental Education.
The reason EE matters to Tanya has changed over the years. She started out wanting to do environmental education because she loves wildlife and being outdoors. It made her so happy, and she wanted others to experience the same enjoyment and connection to our natural world. As she's gotten older, she's experienced first-hand the health benefits from spending time outdoors, not only for herself, but for both kids and adults as well. At a recent workshop, she saw such an obvious change in everyone's mood when they went outside to play a game. Everyone was energetic and smiling and laughing. Their connection to our natural world is deep rooted and Tanya thinks many of us have strayed too far from that connection. It is our responsibility, she believes, to take care of our natural world, and we can't do that if we don't know about it and have a connection to it. We benefit as well. Clean air, clean water, and abundant and healthy wildlife and plants means better food, better living conditions, and better opportunities to refresh and reinvigorate our bodies and our minds.
Tanya chose to serve on the EENC board because Keith Bamberger is persistent! :) Ha! But seriously, she is proud of the EE network in NC. There are many states who have very little support for EE and Tanya wanted to give back to a community that has supported her and given her so much over the past 20 years. Plus, who can turn down taking notes for 6 hours?!
Tanya is spoiled with two amazing German Shepherds, Maya (1 year) and Greta (6 years) who keep her laughing, active, and covered in hair. She sometimes talks in her sleep and her husband says that when they go camping, and only when they are camping, she has often woken him up and asked him to read her a story. He always says "the end" and then she goes right back to sleep. (She'd like you to know that her husband doesn't normally read stories to her, so she has no idea where this is coming from!) And finally, Tanya's Patronus is a white stallion. Just saying, Shannon. :)
Who's planning to join us at this year's conference, EE For All?! It's taking place September 27-29 at the DoubleTree in Atlantic Beach. Why not bring the family, stay an extra night, and spend Sunday together on the beach?
As usual, we will have a lot of great field trips and sessions where you can learn from one another and help make EE in NC the best it can be!
We know some of you want to go ahead and make your hotel reservations. Rooms run $129 a night (and have an ocean view!), but you'll need to call the hotel at (252) 222-4010 to make your reservation. Use group code EEA to get the discount!
Please note tht the hotel will require a credit card to make the reservation, but you will not be charged until you arrive. Reservations must be made by August 12 to get the discount.
Hope to see lots of you at this year's sunny, sandy, beachy conference!
This is a Call for Proposals (CFP) for educators who have experienced success in helping their students make vital connections between themselves and their natural landscape; and want to share these successes with the education community. Our intent of these hour-long workshops are to offer tools and confidence to its participants to join the movement (both literally and figuratively) of transporting our educational settings to the outdoors. Workshops addressing the barriers that keep us inside and how to overcome said barriers are encouraged. We welcome topics focusing on cross-curricular integration in a natural setting and using curiosity and inquiry to enhance outdoor learning. Such workshops should reflect best teaching practices utilizing engaging and hands-on modes of learning throughout the program.
Hear Nature Calling? Submit your proposal at https://goo.gl/forms/EyzyYwEcMW9CVMxt1 by April 4th. You will be asked to provide the following:
Please note that by your submission, you are committing to attend the conference should your proposal be selected. Please let this also serve as a “Save the Date” for attendees! We are very excited about this coming together of local professionals to learn from one another and grow in their field.
Again, the Conference will be on June 15th, 2018 from 8 am – 5 pm followed by a social at Cabarrus Brewing Company. We are keeping the costs very low to minimize any barriers of your attendance. Formal educators will attend at no charge. The charge for non-formal educators will be between $15 - $20. There will be more information to follow, so please mark this date on your calendar and be on the lookout for more to come!
It's time once again for the Board Spotlight! This month, learn all about your EENC president, Shannon Culpepper. She is the Waste Reduction Coordinator for Chatham County Solid Waste & Recycling.
Shannon got her start in EE by doing a little bit here and there while working at a landfill and with a local non-profit organization, but she didn't know that environmental educator could be a full time job. After she finished graduate school and was trying to find a job, she applied to an AmeriCorps program focused on providing environmental education to underserved populations. She was offered a position and while working with the NC Air Quality Department, had the wonderful experience of developing a program that provided EE to older adults. At the same time, she started working on her EE certification and really started to learn about environmental education and the opportunities to do EE as a career. While she is not currently a full time environmental educator, it is a part of her job and she enjoys providing information about solid waste, recycling, reduction, and composting to the citizens she serves.
Shannon decided to serve on the EENC board because she is always looking for opportunities to volunteer, particularly in environmental education. When she learned about EENC and the board, she thought that would be a great opportunity to help the environmental education community in the state. She served as the Policy Chair for two years (she loves policy!) then as President-Elect before becoming President. She feels lucky to be a part of this organization and is happy to help support EE in the state and beyond.
Shannon hopes to accomplish several things during her time as president. She is especially excited that EENC was chosen as one of 10 affiliates of NAAEE for an ee360 grant last year and just received approval for a second year of funding. Shannon serves on the ee360 team and this work has been fruitful for EENC. The ee360 team had two goals for Year 1, one of which was to hire our Executive Director - done! The Year 2 goals are to increase the diversity, equity, and inclusion in EENC (and EE in general) and increasing the effectiveness of the EENC board of directors. The ee360 work has been extremely beneficial to the growth of EENC and Shannon looks forward to continuing these efforts in 2018 and beyond.
Three fun facts about Shannon:
Shannon loves cats - household, stray, big cats, any kind really. Her latest obsession is a sand cat. She suggests that you look it up if you aren't familiar and swears you won't be disappointed.
She used to be able to run a mile in less than 6 minutes, but claims she couldn't get anywhere close to that now.
She is a Ravenclaw and her Patronus is a husky. According to Shannon: "What else do you need to understand who I am?"
During the week of January 16-18, EENC sent our ee360 Leadership Team to Monterey, CA. There they met with the other nine Leadership Teams that NAAEE selected last summer to receive EPA funding to help move EE forward in each state. While in California, the EENC team did a mini presentation to update the group on the status of the two goals set in West Virginia during the first meeting, and announced the hiring of our first staff member, Lauren Pyle. Lauren was in attendance at the meeting, along with Partnership Chair Brad Daniel, President Shannon Culpepper, and former board members Renee Strnad and Michelle Pearce.
The ee360 meeting was combined with an NAAEE Affiliate Meeting, bringing the total to over 30 states present in the room. During the breakout sessions, EENC was also able to lead a session on our accomplishments with an all-volunteer board. EENC was able to serve as an example of drive and leadership, and is looking forward to continued work with NAAEE and the ee360 teams. In year two of our funding, EENC will be working on board training in fundraising and best practices in diversity, equity, and inclusion in the work of Environmental Education in our state.
We're going to start posting monthly board member spotlights here on the blog! First up, our communications chair, Chris Goforth.
Chris' move to North Carolina marked a major shift in her career path. She had always planned to become an entomology professor and was working toward that goal with a BA in Biology and an MS in entomology. She started a citizen science project, somewhat accidentally, during her time as a PhD student and fell in love. Citizen science combined the work she enjoyed most (scientific research, teaching, and science communication) and it became more and more of a focus for her. She eventually applied for her current position as head of citizen science at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and moved across the country to start a whole new life. She was especially thrilled with being placed at the Museum's field station, Prairie Ridge Ecostation, because of the great new ability it gave her to work with the public as an environmental educator.
Chris likes environmental education because in her ideal world everyone everywhere would be aware of and appreciate the nature all around them. Even the most urban areas have SOME nature (red-tailed hawks are all over New York City after all!) and Chris would love to see people understand just how much life we have on our planet, including our own backyards. She especially loves teaching about insects as they are often the forgotten or reviled part of nature and she loves the fact that her current job allows her to not only teach about insects, but also provide people a concrete way that they can interact with, study, or otherwise learn more about insects through citizen science projects.
Chris joined the EENC board as the Central Section Chair in 2016 and then took on the role of Communications Chair last year. She feels strongly that good communication and easy navigation of the resources EENC provides will help build the organization and get people excited about environmental education across North Carolina. Plus, she really loves photography, social media, and building websites, so her current role allows her to support the organization while doing something she enjoys.
This year, Chris wants to focus on reviving EENC Echoes, the EENC newsletter, and moving the conference program toward a more sustainable app based format. She's also trying to build the EENC Instagram account, so please send photos and your username (if you have one - you can send photos even if you're not on Instagram) to her via e mail if you'd like to help provide content!
Three fun facts about Chris:
She is addicted to flying fox/fruit bat videos. They're her favorite non-insect animals and she watches rescue videos from Australia more often than she cares to admit.
She won a writing competition when she was in middle school and got to read her entry on the local PBS station. It aired daily for about a month.
She made money in high school by selling cakes she decorated to teachers, friends, and other people. She made multiple wedding cakes, but quit after the cake collapsed on the way to a friends' wedding. She did make her sister's wedding cake though!
P.O. Box 4904Chapel Hill, NC 27515-4904
Website questions? Click here to contact the Communications Chair.