Christine Helm: Thankful for a chance to learn

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 12, 2016

My name is Catherine Helm. I am a rising junior at Rowan County Early College. This summer, I was giving the opportunity to have an internship at Rowan County Cooperative Extension.

Before I started the internship, I had never heard of Extension, but as my summer started to unfold, I began to learn more and more. As an intern, I had many different tasks to do, and every day was different.

Some days were spent in the office shredding paper, some were spent out in the gardens, and others were spent helping with 4-H Summer Fun programs. Every day was a new adventure.

During the first part of the internship, I helped with Lunch and Learns and the Rowan County Health Fair. We made different types of foods and shared recipes. We made cooking videos using foods from local markets and farmers to show people ways to cook with the items in their area that were in season.

During the internship, we were given plants and had to figure out what type of plant it was, what potential problems it had, and possible solutions. When looking for information, we had to be cautious of what websites we used — we had to use Extension websites from the state of North Carolina.

If you see that your plant may have a problem or do not know what a plant or bug may be, just bring it to the Extension office and they will be happy to help you identify it.

Then, the 4-H Summer Fun program began. I was excited when it started because I am interested in being an elementary school teacher. I helped plan snacks, crafts and lesson plans for summer fun camps, as well as helping out during the camps.

I have learned a lot during the course of my internship. During “Birds, Bees, and Butterflies,” I learned about different types of bees and the difference between bees and wasps. I also learned about butterflies and what they are attracted to and how they differ from a moth. Then, of course, I learned about birds, not just regular birds, but owls and hawks.

Although the program was for children between the ages of 5 and 8, I learned more than I ever knew about birds, bees and butterflies. I learned a lot about our environment, agriculture, animals and plants. But, I also learned that teaching is not always in a classroom and not always done by a teacher.

There are so many careers that do not require a degree in education but require teaching to others in the community. There will always be a teacher, and there will always be a student willing to learn.

I am very sad that my internship is coming to an end, but I will always remember the Rowan County Cooperative Extension. I’ll remember the amazing people, everything I learned and my experience as a whole. I will never be able to express how thankful I am to have had this opportunity.