We're going to start posting monthly board member spotlights here on the blog! First up, our communications chair, Chris Goforth.
Chris' move to North Carolina marked a major shift in her career path. She had always planned to become an entomology professor and was working toward that goal with a BA in Biology and an MS in entomology. She started a citizen science project, somewhat accidentally, during her time as a PhD student and fell in love. Citizen science combined the work she enjoyed most (scientific research, teaching, and science communication) and it became more and more of a focus for her. She eventually applied for her current position as head of citizen science at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and moved across the country to start a whole new life. She was especially thrilled with being placed at the Museum's field station, Prairie Ridge Ecostation, because of the great new ability it gave her to work with the public as an environmental educator.
Chris likes environmental education because in her ideal world everyone everywhere would be aware of and appreciate the nature all around them. Even the most urban areas have SOME nature (red-tailed hawks are all over New York City after all!) and Chris would love to see people understand just how much life we have on our planet, including our own backyards. She especially loves teaching about insects as they are often the forgotten or reviled part of nature and she loves the fact that her current job allows her to not only teach about insects, but also provide people a concrete way that they can interact with, study, or otherwise learn more about insects through citizen science projects.
Chris joined the EENC board as the Central Section Chair in 2016 and then took on the role of Communications Chair last year. She feels strongly that good communication and easy navigation of the resources EENC provides will help build the organization and get people excited about environmental education across North Carolina. Plus, she really loves photography, social media, and building websites, so her current role allows her to support the organization while doing something she enjoys.
This year, Chris wants to focus on reviving EENC Echoes, the EENC newsletter, and moving the conference program toward a more sustainable app based format. She's also trying to build the EENC Instagram account, so please send photos and your username (if you have one - you can send photos even if you're not on Instagram) to her via email if you'd like to help provide content!
Three fun facts about Chris:
She is addicted to flying fox/fruit bat videos. They're her favorite non-insect animals and she watches rescue videos from Australia more often than she cares to admit.
She won a writing competition when she was in middle school and got to read her entry on the local PBS station. It aired daily for about a month.
She made money in high school by selling cakes she decorated to teachers, friends, and other people. She made multiple wedding cakes, but quit after the cake collapsed on the way to a friends' wedding. She did make her sister's wedding cake though!