Congrats, Jill Hobbs

Congrats, Jill Hobbs

Congratulations, Jill Hobbs!

With the University of Idaho (U of I) holding its spring commencement recently, we celebrated three  graduating CDHD student trainees. But it wasn’t only trainees achieving their academic pursuits this year – staff member Jill Hobbs is also celebrating her academic achievement.

Jill – a Health Consultant with IdahoSTARS – received a Master of Science in Environmental Education from the University of Idaho. Her degree is the culmination of a two-year research project focused on environmental sustainability in early care and education. More specifically, how human actions can impact the natural environment or ecological systems in relation to early care and education facilities.

At the center of her work was developing a proposal and implementing a sustainability-focused training session aimed at early care and education managers or childcare facility owners. Other childcare staff could and did also find value in this professional development opportunity. In fact, one participant – kitchen staff at a childcare facility – reported they’ll use what they learned in the training by replacing disposable dishes with reusable options when feeding the children at the facility.

Jill worked with IdahoSTARS leadership and staff to implement her training, with the initial proposal sent more than a year ago. Since, an interest survey was completed by 364 individuals online. The results were analyzed and survey participants in IdahoSTARS Region 7 were invited to receive the training. It consisted of a presentation of knowledge and concepts, a hands-on energy generation project, and participants identifying how they could apply the training within their facilities to be more environmentally friendly.  

The aim was to get early care and education professionals thinking more about the impacts early care facilities can have on the environment and consequently, children’s health. It also aimed to provide information and resources to bring about a positive shift toward more sustainable practices within the field of childcare.  

Looking forward, Jill hopes to be able to continue to provide the training through the IdahoSTARS calendar. Pre-training surveys showed many interested individuals and post-training surveys indicated that participants would gladly recommend the training to a coworker or colleague.

Completing her postgraduate study has benefited Jill in many ways in which she will apply to her role at IdahoSTARS. “I now have a better understanding of techniques to assist and engage different types of learners.  Another way my master’s degree has benefited me is through knowledge gained related to the preservation of natural resources and protecting the health of more sensitive populations,” she said.  

Please join us in congratulating Jill on this wonderful achievement. We’re excited to see how she will continue to apply this knowledge within the IdahoSTARS project and beyond!