In February this year, Barbara Goldentyer joined TLC as an Americorps GEOS service member to develop environmental education programs and to form new partnerships between TLC and nearby underserved communities. Barbara is originally from Cary, North Carolina and earned her bachelor’s degree from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina. Last year, she completed her master’s in sociology at NC State University with a concentration in social inequalities, where she is currently teaching an introductory sociology course. She previously worked for three years at Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve where she designed and ran nature education programs and camps, and led family hikes.
As a member of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) AmeriCorps, Barbara will complete her 10-month service term with TLC. CTNC is a host organization for AmeriCorps, and the program works to reconnect communities with the outdoors and inspire future conservation leaders. This year is the second year that CTNC is hosting the program, and they are working with 17 organizations throughout North Carolina, including the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association in Durham, the North Carolina Ecology Corps in Raleigh, and the Conservation Fund in Chapel Hill.
Barbara with students from the East Durham Children’s Initiative
Barbara says that she has many goals for her time with TLC. She is working with youth organizations in the area, including the East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI), to plan environmental education programs. Currently there are two upcoming programs planned with EDCI including a spring break field trip for 3rd through 5th graders and a series of weekend programs for 6th through 8th graders to teach them about habitat and pollinators. Barbara is working on other programs including an animal habitat hunt, dipping in the creek, and a demonstration of cross-pollination with chalk powder. She hopes that these programs can be models for partnerships with other youth organizations in the Triangle. In addition to the youth programs, she is working on events and activities for families and TLC members. TLC was awarded a Merck Neighbor of Choice grant to help fund the work she will be doing to develop these youth programs and activate our Horton Grove Nature Preserve with environmental education programming.
The Earth Day Celebration for Families event will be held on April 16th from 2-4 pm at Horton Grove Nature Preserve. The event will include nature activities including a scavenger hunt and a recycled planter craft for kids to turn an old container into a planter for plant pollinator seeds. Barbara is encouraging parents to bring items including old yogurt containers, jars, or cans that can be used for the planter. Learning Outside will be at the event as well with family activities, and Barbara is currently working to get other organizations involved. There will be food and drinks, and families will have the opportunity to walk through the new That Makes Sense! interpretive trail for kids at the preserve.
Students from the East Durham Children’s Initiative in March
As Barbara continues to plan the Earth Day Celebration for Families event, TLC is looking forward to getting families involved in the celebration! The event is free, but be sure to register so that we have a head count.
One of Barbara’s goals for her time as a CTNC AmeriCorps member with TLC is to host a family event each month. Currently, she is planning a Mother’s Day event in May with the family hiking group Hike It Baby at TLC’s Johnston Mill Nature Preserve. Keep an eye out for more events to come!