A Return to Mentorship 
by Brooke Knapick, Director of Educational Program Development

L to R: Olivia Hogan, Callie Knudson, Heather Bariso, Grace Fanning.

The Wetlands Institute’s Environmental Education (EE) Interns spent 12 weeks leading public education programs, while immersing themselves in the unique environment of the surrounding salt marsh and barrier islands. They worked hard and through it all developed the skills they need to continue their careers in environmental education. Each year, interns are asked to develop and implement an education project of their choosing that is personally and/or institutionally beneficial. The deliverables from their projects leave a lasting impact on The Wetlands Institute and we hope you’ll stop by to see their education initiatives in action.

Heather Bariso (Stockton University) revitalized our Wetlandia education space by designing a way to educate visitors about salt marsh animals by creating a pair of large 4’x4’ wall posters featuring the most common animals in the marsh ecosystem. Posters include facts and information about both terrestrial and aquatic creatures, and are supplemented by a hands-on Food Web Matching Game. Grace Fanning (The University of Pittsburgh) created a new Science Feature to teach visitors about the Lenni-Lenape, the indigenous people of New Jersey, through an informative presentation about Lenape culture and practices along with an interactive tracking and identification game that tests knowledge of local species of plants and animals. This new program provides a new perspective on our region’s history and encourages an ethic of environmental stewardship. Olivia Hogan (Eckerd College) designed a new educational video to enhance the audio and visual components of our Secrets of the Salt Marsh aquarium, complement and extend the learning experiences within the Aquarium, and contribute to its overall atmosphere. The video provides information about our local marine animals, gives visitors an up-close look at these special creatures, and exposes them to some behaviors they might not have otherwise seen. Callie Knudson (Unity College) created a new interactive education experience to enhance our Osprey Learning Station. She developed a pair of posters to present information about the Ospreys and threats they face, and unique crafts and activities that change with the seasons and provide visitors hands-on learning experiences that reinforce the informational components and highlight the importance of these incredible birds.