A Conversation with TLC’s Summer Education Intern Dakota Oats

September 7, 2016


A Conversation with TLC’s Summer Education Intern Dakota Oats

Dakota Oats spent this summer helping kids create construction paper insects, writing a lesson plan for an outdoor education program, and pointing out the many butterflies, millipedes, and mushrooms at Horton Grove Nature Preserve. Dakota, a rising junior at Durham School of the Arts, joined TLC through a partnership with the local nonprofit, Partners for Youth Opportunity, which provides employment opportunities to Durham youth. Dakota assisted with eight environmental education programs for the East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI) STEAM Summer Enrichment Program working with youth in kindergarten through eighth grade. Triangle Land Conservancy has worked over the last several months with funding provided by Merck’s Neighbor of Choice program to develop relationships and implement programming at our Horton Grove Nature Preserve with groups such as EDCI. We are proud to host Dakota this summer and want share more about her talents and interests.

Tell us a little about yourself. What do you like to do outdoors? What hobbies do you have? What’s your favorite animal? Your favorite subject in school?

I am 17 years old and I go to Durham School of the Arts. I am from Durham, North Carolina. During my internship with TLC I have learned how to work with kids to educate them about the environment where they live. Outside, I like to go running and help my grandma around her yard. Some of my hobbies are photography, walking around downtown Durham, spending time with my friends and family, painting my mom’s nails, watching comedy movies, and cooking. My favorite animals are dogs and dolphins. My favorite subjects are math and science.

What was the best part about working with TLC?

My internship with TLC was amazing! I learned new things every day and had a chance to meet new people. My favorite part of it all was working with the kids, teaching them about the environment and seeing their faces light up. We taught the kids about how different kinds of birds live in different environments and depend on their beaks to get their food. We also gave the kids examples of different animal track prints with modeling magic to show them how an animal print would look if the animal was walking in the dirt.

What have you learned from your time with TLC?

During my time with TLC, I learned how to plan for activities that help educate kids about the environment in a way which is also fun for the kids. I’ve learned to be confident while talking in front of kids, to give detailed explanations that children can understand and that keeps their attention. I also learned how to create a lesson plan so that other people can use the same lesson in the future.

What are your plans for the future?

My plans after this internship are to apply to UNC-Chapel Hill to go to school for early childhood development. My long-term career goal is to become a successful entrepreneur working in my own daycare business, technology, and real estate. I would like to get outdoors more and learn how to plant flowers and to take care of plants instead of them dying every time. The internship with TLC will help me in the future by making me aware of the nature we have in North Carolina and helping me educate others about our environment!

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