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Career Story: Educator At An Environmental Education Center

Educator At An Environmental Education Center

Job Title: Educator

Type of Company: We are a friends organization for a national forest and three national wildlife refuges in coastal South Carolina.

Education: BS, Marine Science, Stockton College (Egg Harbor City, NJ) •• MS, Environmental Science, University of Charleston

Previous Experience: I was a naturalist for two years prior to taking my current position.

Job Tasks: I am an educator at an environmental education center in South Carolina, where we inform visitors of the activities that are allowed and popular in the adjoining national forest and wildlife refuge, as well as the local wildlife on these lands.

Most days, I teach school groups about our local ecosystem by taking them out on trails, going into their classroom with educational animals, or conducting programs in our center. In the afternoon, I correspond with teachers about upcoming programs, provide information for teachers to teach their own students about the environment, and get prepared for the next day.

In addition, to working at the education center, I teach programs at Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge in Georgetown, SC and ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge in Charleston County, SC. When I am not teaching school groups, I am teaching boy and girl scouts, home-school organizations, after-school programs and adult groups.

At my job, I have the opportunity to spend half of my day in the Forest and out on the Refuge, enjoying the environment that is so important to conserve. Showing this unique ecosystem on the coast of South Carolina to children is lots of fun. If the future generation does not love the environment and enjoy spending time in it, they will see no need to save it.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts of my job are being outdoors a lot of the time and that is also the worst part of my job during June through August in coastal South Carolina. Another great part of my job is exploring nature with children because they are so enthusiastic and fun to be around. A pitfall to my job is that there is not enough time in the day to reach all the children I would like to.

Job Tips: I would recommend volunteering and interning at an environmental education center if you would like to become an environmental educator. Experience is the best training you can get in my job. Also spend time outdoors learning the different plants and animals because you can't just memorize it in a book.

As far as education goes, a background in biology or environmental science is ideal, but take a few classes in education because group management is crucial to teaching children anything. You can know all the information in the word but if you can't present it in an exciting way, they will not hear you.

Additional Thoughts: Please make sure you are comfortable with public speaking even on subjects that you are not that familiar with because that is essentially the job every day.

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