Sarah Goodman has recently received two certifications that help her bring lessons of ecology and sustainability alive for students in new ways: the North Carolina Environmental Education Certification, and the Great Smoky Mountains Naturalist Certification.
Each certification brought Goodman enhanced expertise in areas such as naturalist skills, Appalachian ecology, nature journaling, and community partnerships, which she is already sharing with her students. A PD educator in her eighth year, she teaches 6th grade science as well as a 7th-8th grade elective, Global Environmental Issues.
“It’s a way for me to continue to learn how to integrate new materials into the existing curriculum,” Goodman says. “It helps me look for ideas and ways to get the kids outside, and get them engaged in the environment.” Both certifications also bolster her role as the middle school sustainability coordinator, which gets the PD community involved in sustainability initiatives.
As part of her state certification, Goodman oversees the ongoing Trout in the Classroom project. Students raise trout from eggs to fingerlings and release them in a stream, while learning about water quality, conservation, and stream habitats. This year’s trout, still swimming in a tank in her classroom, will be released in South Mountains State Park this April.
Goodman, recently profiled in the state’s “Teachable Moments” blog, says the project "connects human activity to the health of an ecosystem, and encourages youth to continue sharing their knowledge while doing their part for the environment."
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