Back in America!
Hello everyone! I hope all of you are well and had a wonderful holiday season with family and friends. I wanted to update you on myself and Education That Travels. As seen on our last post Robert, Sky and I have relocated back to the United States. We traveled around catching up with friends and family during the final months of 2016 and settled in Brevard, North Carolina January 2017. We are currently staying at a place in the mountains of Brevard surrounded by forest; an environmental educator’s playground!
Robert has started an event production business with a local friend and they are looking forward to applying their skills in North Carolina. Robert is also pursuing his love of photography and catching local wildlife on his self-made camera trap.
As for me, starting this April I will be working as a part-time environmental educator at the Cradle of Forestry in Pisgah National Forest. Plans are also moving forward for my environmental education organization. We eventually want to purchase land and run our own sustainable living/living with wildlife center, but for the time being I am busy focusing on being more mobile with outreach education to local schools and community groups. While working in Namibia I did loads of outreach education. I found that just like schools in the US, Namibian schools had a hard time getting transportation or having the funds to travel to environmental education centers. While I would love for every child to see a cheetah in-person or visit a nature center, I know that is not a reality for every student or every school. I saw first-hand what quality outreach education can do, how it can be a great way to supplement school curriculum. Outreach education can also aid teachers by providing non-formal activities, materials and interactions with people from other professions and skill sets that most classrooms can’t provide. While in Namibia I learned best practices in outreach education and am dedicated to teaching children about local wildlife and the importance of predators.
I will be applying what I have learned in Namibia to help conserve and protect North American predators through the development of science-based outreach programming that informs, inspires, and promotes living with wildlife and predators for local schools and community groups. Our best approach to keep North American ecosystems healthy is to save wild predators and their habitats. One way we accomplish this by educating the public about these awesomely adapted creatures and foster a positive perspective about predators. I am committed to making my curriculum available to other non-formal educators to spread the knowledge across the US, reaching a far greater number of students than I ever could alone. Together we can reconnect to the wild world and make informed decisions about the future of our planet.
Please stay tuned to Education That Travels for outreach program listings, wildlife information, connections to global conservation efforts, and the materials we need to fulfill our educational mission.
Here’s a few photos from a farmer training workshop I was involved in during my last few days at the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF). We had ten community members from a local communal conservancy come to CCF for training in human-wildlife conflict mitigation, wildlife monitoring techniques, and how to effectively manage bush encroachment. This workshop as well as a few others, was led by women of CCF. It was an honor to lead and learn with our ecology manager, Dr. Louisa Richmond-Coggan and our livestock guarding dog manager, Paige Seitz. In the few years I have been involved in the workshops, we have seen an increase in women participation and Louisa has done a great job at keeping in contact and supporting past participants. I presented about human-wildlife conflict mitigation techniques and how to properly ID livestock that has been killed by predators. I also contributed to wildlife identification and monitoring techniques. Here are some photos of my presentation and Kill ID activity.