This month we feature a long-time KAEE member and environmental educator with a passion for expanding the reach of EE in Kentucky. Emily serves as an Assistant Director in the Information and Education Division at the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Read on to learn a bit more about her work!
KAEE: Can you tell us a little more about your work in the field of EE and what particularly inspires you?
Emily: I’m currently working to enhance the capacity of our conservation camps to offer additional outdoor experiences outside of our traditional summer camp season. The ultimate outcome would model other states that require high school graduates to have an outdoor experience as part of their required curriculum before graduation. How amazing would it be for every child to graduate having had a positive, meaningful experience in nature?
KAEE: What goals do you have for your organization or programs within the EE field?
Emily: One of the major goals is to share the resources that the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources has to offer K-12 educators. We have conservation educators who cover every county across the state and present conservation education programs to students in grades four through six. We also offer a week-long conservation camp to students in the fourth through sixth grades. We have three camps across the state, on Kentucky Lake (in Marshall County), Lake Cumberland (in Wayne County), and Grayson Lake (in Carter County). We work closely with a nonprofit, the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation, to offer scholarships. So, if you have a student who is limited by financial resources, we will find a way to get them to camp!
In addition to our conservation education in the schools and conservation camp program, we offer a Teacher’s Tacklebox and National Archery in the Schools program. If anyone is interested in more information, please let me know.
KAEE: What is an area you feel you could use support in from this network of fellow educators?
Emily: I believe one of the biggest areas would be working collaboratively and creating new partnerships that would effectively expand our ability to deliver programs and services to broader groups. We can better achieve the goal of providing outdoor recreation opportunities to broader, nontraditional audiences if we have partners with expertise and trust in their communities of work.
KAEE: Share a fun fact or random tidbit about yourself with the group!
Emily: Many moons ago, I was a horse-mounted Park Ranger in Tennessee.