The Nature Center was thrilled to welcome our new Education Director on July 14, Molly Check. As Education Director, Molly will oversee all of the educational programming that happens both here at the Nature Center and in our outreach programs. To understand the magnitude of that undertaking, in 2013 we ran 311 programs at the Nature Center that were attended by more than 4,500 people. Add on to that the more than 20,000 students who benefited from our school outreach programs, and that is a whole lot of education happening on a daily basis.

We thought you might like to get to know Molly a little better, so we asked her some questions. And the next time you are at the Nature Center, make sure you introduce yourself!

Name: Molly Check

Age:  31

Where were you born:  Warren, Pa., in the heart of the Allegheny National Forest. I grew up on a small family farm in Watson Township.

Educational background:  Bachelor of science degree in Environmental Education at Slippery Rock University (2006); EE Teaching Certificate, K-12

Last job:  Public Program Manager at the Pocono Environmental Education Center.

What was the best part about that job:  Working with a grant program, Women on the Water, that took inner city girls on a three-day, two-night paddle trip on the Delaware River.

Why did you want to come to DPNC:  I was looking for a center that was close to the ocean.  The DPNC offers a wonderful array of programs to the community; when I read about the excitement over the recently purchased Coogan Farm, I knew it would be the perfect fit.

Now that you’ve been here two whole weeks, what is the biggest surprise to you about DPNC:  The biggest surprise has been how often we teach with live animals.  I’ve really enjoyed working with the animals and look forward to training more with the birds of prey.

Got any big plans?  I would like to offer more adult programs at the center (check out the upcoming fall programs!), as well as expand our school outreach to include more middle schools.

What do you do for fun in your spare time:  I enjoy canoeing, kayaking, reading, cooking, and gardening.  These days, most of my spare time is spent by the ocean, swimming, sunning, and gathering shells to identify later.

Coffee or tea? Hot or iced?  Hot tea, preferably from plants that I’ve gathered myself.  I have been studying edible and medicinal plants for several years and have a large collection of dried teas.

What’s your newcomer take on the CT shoreline?  I’m absolutely infatuated.  :)

What book are you reading right now?  I’m currently reading Marine Science:  Marine Biology and Oceanography by Thomas P. Greene.  For fiction, I recently started reading Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver.

What’s your most embarrassing song on your iTunes?  Is it embarrassing enough that I don’t have iTunes?  My friends tell me that I’m the only person they know who still listens to CDs.