Introduction

         During a particularly successful day of catching frogs when I was seven years old, my closest childhood friend nicknamed me “Nature Girl”, a badge of honor I took on with great enthusiasm. Growing up among the woodlands of Maine, spending hours exploring forested backyards and rocky tidal pools, I was imbued with an earnest appreciation for nature.  I have fond memories of going rock-hounding with my dad in old mining pits, bringing home pockets full of treasure and spending hours looking through his copy of the National Audubon Society’s Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals. When I think back on moments like these, it is clear why the outdoors has always been a part of my identity and why I have found such fulfillment in working as an environmental educator. Each of my happiest childhood memories feature nature in one way or another, and I find great joy in facilitating experiences that allow students to connect with their own natural places. My time at the McCall Outdoor Science School has allowed me to grow my identity from Nature Girl to Nature Scientist, helping me to improve my teaching skills and scientific learning in order to better pursue my passion for the field of place-based education.

Nature Girl

Nature Girl

         Before coming to MOSS, I was determined to increase my overall skills in place-based education and become more comfortable teaching science. I wanted to learn how to put together lesson plans and develop curriculum for place-based education programs, realizing that these skills would allow me to further pursue a full-time career in environmental education. These goals have been met and exceeded beyond my imagination. I never expected that in addition to learning how to teach science in the field, I would discover my science identity and find confidence in practicing science myself. My passion to become a better educator fueled my drive to engage with science directly, allowing me to break down my idea of what it means to be a scientist and find empowerment in my own relationship with this field.

Nature Scientist

Nature Scientist

         The following portfolio documents my journey to becoming a confident educator and scientist, showing the transformative moments throughout the year as experienced through my teaching practicum and graduate coursework. My growth as an educator will be presented across a spectrum that includes creating place-based lesson plans for middle school students and developing college-level science curriculum for first-generation college students, while my growth as a scientist is documented through a traditional ecological research project and my efforts to represent scientific data through the craft of knitting. Finally, my work in science communication reveals how I have been able to pull together the many strands of my identity, from Nature Girl to educator to scientist, allowing me to confidently pursue a career that plays to my strengths and fulfills my passions.