Meet Children’s Garden Educator Tarneshia Evans
In January a new Children’s Garden educator, Tarneshia Evans, joined our teaching staff. Two months later, Evans was selected as one of five Outstanding Educators by Project Learning Tree® (PLT), the national environmental education program of the American Forest Foundation. It’s easy to see that Evans is a leader when it comes to helping kids get the most out of outdoor learning.
“Tarneshia and the other Outstanding Educators show the value of engaging, high-quality environmental education,” says Kathy McGlauflin, senior vice president for education at the American Forest Foundation. “They are equipping children and adults with knowledge and skills to meet 21st century needs.”
PLT Outstanding Educators are selected for their commitment to environmental education and for their exceptional teaching skills, among other factors. Evans will be honored at PLT’s 31st International Coordinators’ Conference, April 24-27, in Louisville, Ky.
Virginia PLT Coordinator Page Hutchinson says, “Tarneshia draws on environmental education in creating a fun and learning environment for children and their families. She has also been a leader in promoting environmental education and PLT to strengthen early childhood programs throughout Virginia.”
We’ve love having Tarneshia Evans on our education staff. Not only is she an award-winning educator, but her joy of teaching kids in the outdoors is obvious. When she’s teaching, Evans is in flow and her joy is contagious. It’s easy to see that sharing her love of nature with children every day offers a chance everyday to make a meaningful connection with them. Evans also has the perfect balance between being no nonsense and having a great sense of humor. When she’s reading a story to kids, she makes sure kids are paying attention by naming what is obviously a dog, a cat, in a story to see if they notice. They do! She asks a class of first graders to taste the kale growing in nearby beds. She says, “I like it!” with so much enthusiasm that many of the little ones agree, even if they didn’t before. And if they don’t like it, that’s OK with her too.
If you come on a field trip to Ginter this spring, look for Evans. She’ll be the one telling the kids how good the kale tastes.
Q: What’s your favorite part of the garden?
A: Every time I think I have a favorite part of the garden, I find another hidden treasure that makes me say, “Wow I love this place!” As of right now I don’t have favorite part, I adore every inch of this garden.
Q: Tell us something that surprising about you that your coworkers might not know.
A: That I’ve worked for Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden (part-time) for the past four years facilitating birthday parties. So if anyone is saying there was a Tarneshia that they used to see on the weekends, that’s me!
Q: Where did you work before you came to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden?
A: I was working at Martin Luther King Jr. Preschool Center with the Head Start program. Before that I was the lead Pre-K teacher at The Goddard School in Woodlake for six years. My job here as a Children’s Garden Educator at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is a great transition from teaching in a classroom setting.
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: One of my favorite things to do is thrifting. I love shopping at thrift stores, Goodwill, consignment shops and antique stores. It’s like finding hidden treasure that’s been buried. I also enjoy my frequent visits to VMFA!
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I grew up in Washington D.C., with two younger sisters and one younger brother. We moved to Richmond when I was in 10th grade and I finished up high school here. After high school we did move back to D.C. Later I met my husband who is born and raised here in Richmond. So I was destined to be here after all. I am from DMV.
Q: What part of Richmond do you live in?
A: I live on the Southside near Forest Hill and the Westover Hills area.