In the Sunlight


Canadian Network for Ocean Education (CaNOE)

Established in 2014, the Canadian Network for Ocean Education (CaNOE) provides a forum for learning, discussing, and sharing ocean literacy in Canada. Simply put, ocean literacy means understanding the ocean and our relationship with it. By bringing educators, scientists, citizens and institutions together, CaNOE hopes to create momentum that will increase regional and national understanding of the value of our ocean, and help Canada keep pace with international efforts in ocean literacy.

Enjoy their short (50 sec) video!

CaNOE produces "SPLASHmail" a monthly newsletter filled with "events, news and views for the ocean-minded." The newsletter includes a teaser about the monthly blog post featured on their website, as well as member spotlights, and updates on new ocean discoveries and other work being done by the organization.

CaNOE is a non-profit society and completely volunteer organization at this time. Members have roles with the Board of Directors and working groups that manage strategic planning, communications, education and outreach. CaNOE is continually growing and is building more and more capacity to move ocean literacy initiatives forward in Canada. Last month, CaNOE gained 89 new members during their Love Your Ocean membership drive through outreach initiatives on their Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as in-person at a Blue Drinks event in Victoria, BC.

CaNOE Directors Heather Murray, Dave Semeniuk, Kayla Glynn, and Anne Stewart enjoy a "blue" drink together in Victoria! 

In the summer of 2016, CaNOE held their 2nd Ocean Literacy Conference at Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS where author and marine educator Dr. Elin Kelsey gave a free public keynote on ‘Ocean Optimism, the year’s conference theme. CaNOE is pleased to be a partner in the upcoming EECOM See Change Conference in NS this May, and is planning their own conference for 2018 - stay tuned for more details!

Beginning of the Open Space Session at the 2016 Conference  (Photo: Lucija Prelovec)

Board members also occasionally do CaNOE outreach at other conferences. Last year, board member Sonya Lee represented CaNOE at the EMSEA conference in Europe by presenting a poster about the organization, and Sam Andrews and Kat Middleton ran a facilitated discussion at the Oceans Online Symposium in Newfoundland.

Want to get involved with ocean education and outreach going on in our coastal nation? Join CaNOE in charting a course towards a sustainable future for Canadians, a future that includes healthy oceans.

Green Teacher

Green Teacher is a non-profit organization based in Toronto dedicated to helping educators, both inside and outside of schools, promote environmental awareness among young people aged 6-19.

Their quarterly Green Teacher magazine offers perspectives on the role of education in creating a sustainable future, practical articles and ready to use activities for various age levels, and reviews of dozens of new educational resources. You can subscribe to Green Teacher and get great kid-tested ideas for fostering learning and inspiring action on environmental and other global issues. Find out more here:

This year, EECOM and Green Teacher are partnering with 10 other Canadian environmental learning organizations from coast to coast to host a series of webinars. To find out more go to:

Tim Grant, Editor of Green Teacher at EECOM's 2016 National Leadership Summit

New Brunswick Environmental Network (NBEN)

nblogoBasking in the sunlight this month is the New Brunswick Environmental Network (NBEN), one of the few remaining provincial networks under the Canadian Environmental Network (RCEN). The network links over 100 non-profit environmental organizations from all across the province to improve communication, strengthen the environmental movement, and to collaboratively advance work on a variety of environmental issues such as biodiversity, climate adaptation, children’s environmental health, sustainability education, shale gas, watersheds, crown lands and more.

The NBEN organizes frequent conferences and workshops on those topics. With regards to environmental education, a fantastic program was launched last year. Great Minds Think Outside is an outdoor, curriculum-linked professional development program for teachers and educators to give them the tools they need to incorporate nature into their teaching methods. Visit for more information on any of these projects.

Oh, and the NBEN is also celebrating their 25th anniversary. Happy birthday!


In the EE (energy efficient!) Spotlight: Let's Talk Energy

In the spotlight this month is Let’s Talk Energy, an education initiative run by the Canada Science and Technology Museum that strives to enhance energy and climate awareness among Canadians to contribute to a sustainable energy future.

They are in advanced planning for Talk Energy Week 2017, which will happen from February 18-25th 2017.  In partnership with Museums across the country, they will provide programming materials on the topic of electrifying the transportation sector.  For high schools, they are working with Canadian Geographic to develop a series of infographics and lesson plans focused on climate change adaptation and mitigation.  There are also plans for speaker series for schools – if you are interested in free programming or lesson plans, please get in touch.


Their travelling exhibition “Climate Change is Here…” produced in partnership with National Geographic  just arrived in Mexico city for the Green Expo, and a second copy will accompany the Canadian delegation to Marrakesh for COP 22 in November.  Planning is underway for a second photo exhibition for late spring 2017.


Finally we are working with Will Gadd, world champion ice climber, to produce a series of videos in the Columbia Icefields.  Videos will showcase the impact climate change is having in places close to home.  They will be released in early 2017, stay tuned!



Twitter: @enertweets

Instagram: letstalkenergy


In the Spotlight: Environmental Education Association of the Yukon

You don’t have to be big to be successful in fostering EE in your community! Bringing together people with the common interest of promoting and encouraging environmental education—and to have fun—are the key goals for this long-running organization in Canada’s North.

The group was formed in the early ‘90s by a group of keen teachers and informal educators who felt a need to share their successes, resources and build networks. By becoming a registered non-profit society, EEAY has been able to receive funds for a number of projects proposed by members including: a Student Environmental Action Program, a circumpolar Northern Forum Youth Forum, the Yukon Envirothon, and hosting the 2001 EECOM conference. And yet, the association remains quite informal and collegial. Regular sharing meetings are complemented by potluck dinners for the sharing of good local food and drink, ideas, activities and laughs.

Click here to check out EEAY's website. Some key organizational members include Environment Yukon, the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, CPAWS Yukon, the Yukon Conservation Society and Rivers to Ridges.


In the Spotlight: International Peace Garden

The International Peace Garden is a 9.5 km2 park located on the international border between Canada and the United States, in the state of North Dakota and the province of Manitoba. It was established on July 14, 1932, as a symbol of the peaceful relationship between the two nations. The legend "Peace Garden State" was added to vehicle registration plates of North Dakota in 1956, and adopted by the North Dakota Legislative Assembly in 1957 as the official state nickname.

The park lies near the center of the Turtle Mountain plateau. The climate, topography, wildlife, and natural vegetation differ considerably from the surrounding prairies. Wildflowers, pristine lakes and over one hundred species of songbirds are permanent residents of the Peace Garden. The garden is a valued quiet place for photographers to capture nature’s wildlife and beauty in all seasons. The park plants over 150,000 flowers each year. Main features of the garden include a 5.5 m floral clock display, fountains, a chime, and twin 37 m concrete towers straddling the border with a peace chapel at their base. The chapel walls are inscribed with notable quotes about peace. 

The Burdick Perfoming Arts Centre (image below) will be "Centre Stage" to main events at EECOM 2016. Built to showcase performances by teachers, students, and guests at the International Music Camp, the Centre holds over 500 and the stage brings out the best in all who get up to perform. The EECOM Board tested the versatility of the Burdick Centre - and your ability to discern the acronym they created at a Board retreat at the International Peace Garden last November. They came to the Turtle Mountains just after Remembrance Day and brought beautiful weather with them. They have promised to do the same for EECOM 2016 - August 25 to 28.

EECOM on Stage

Click here for a map of the International Peace Garden.

Click here for accommodation options. 

Click here to register for the 2016 National EE Conference at the International Peace Garden. 

In the Spotlight: Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots

Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots celebrates 25 years!

RS25imageJane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots is the youth-led, community action program of the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada. Founded by renowned primatologist and UN Messenger of Peace, Dr. Jane Goodall, the program inspires and empowers youth to make a positive difference for people, other animals and the environment.

The Jane Goodall Institute is proud to announce that Roots & Shoots is celebrating its 25th birthday. What started with Dr. Goodall and 12 Tanzanian high school students has grown into a global movement reaching 87 countries and engaging hundreds of thousands of young people.

Says Dr. Goodall, “When I first met with high school students 25 years ago in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the first group of Roots & Shoots, I hoped that it would spread to other countries. I could not have dreamt that a quarter of century later it would represent thousands of young people around the world learning about local problems, planning projects and creating so many hands-on activities to benefit communities, animals and the environment we all share.

I am immensely proud of all those who have been a part of the program over the years and hope that 2016 will be a year of celebration of all that Roots & Shoots has achieved and a platform to launch us ever further in the years ahead.”

The Jane Goodall Institute is celebrating throughout the year and around the globe with our Growing Together Campaign. Roots & Shoots groups across Canada are encouraged to make a positive difference for plants, trees and forests through simple acts of natural kindness.

To learn more about Roots & Shoots Canada, visit:

In the Spotlight: Back to Nature Network

Into Nature Guide ImgOntario’s Back to Nature Network (B2N) is a growing province-wide network of organizations whose mission is to create opportunities for children and families to connect with nature. B2N represents the international children and nature movement that is focused on addressing ‘nature deficit’ disorder, a term spawned by Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods. Member organizations come from a diversity of sectors including education, health, planning, early child development, environmental stewardship, and active healthy living. B2N has enjoyed strong financial support since its inception from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Education is a key focus of B2N, and working with educators at all levels to extend professional practice into the outdoors is a priority. In addition to several partnerships with individual school boards in Ontario, B2N has a program to certify mentors for outdoor teaching in every public elementary school board in the province. A similar program is being developed for all Early Childhood Educators in Halton Region, a large region nested in the Greater Toronto Area.

Complimentary to the educator learning opportunities, B2N launched a two-year Ontario research program in January 2016 with Simcoe County District School Board to investigate the outcome of regular time learning outdoors at school on students, educators and families. The Principal Investigator is Dr. Andrea Faber Taylor, whose work on the positive impacts of nature exposure on the well-being of children suffering from ADHD has been recognized internationally. The program has been generously funded by TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. Read the full news story in this Toronto Star article.

Other important thrusts of B2N’s efforts include a sustained effort to reach out to health professionals; a partnership with the Ontario College of Family Physicians has seen the creation of an accredited education module on the benefits of nature to human health (full story here). On the wider landscape, B2N has recently joined with the Children and Nature Network to co-deliver a series of webinars on Network Weaving, a powerful tool to amplify the collective work of networks in realizing shared goals.

In the Spotlight: Natural Curiosity

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Natural Curiosity is a resource for educators about Environmental Inquiry that was developed by the Laboratory School at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study (OISE/UofT). The resource supports educators in making the shift to Environmental Inquiry through a four-branch framework to learning and teaching that includes Inquiry-based Learning, Integrated Learning, Experiential Learning and Stewardship. This four-branch approach elicits students’ natural curiosity about the world and creates a classroom culture of learning that is purposeful, fun, productive, and responsive to students. When a student’s imagination is engaged, their learning naturally blossoms. When the same happens for an educator, their practice is transformed. Since its initial launch in 2011, the impact of the resource has been remarkable, gaining widespread adoption in schools, boards, and Ministries of Education across the country and internationally. Natural Curiosity has also been translated into French - both copies are available free to download at our website

We have learned that the first edition of Natural Curiosity begins to reflect Indigenous approaches to learning in significant ways. One Anishinaabe Elder – also a retired elementary school teacher – said, after reading the first edition, “I actually cried when I read it. I said to myself, they’re finally starting to get it!”

Photo3With support from TD Friends of the Environment, we have been inspired to create a second edition which highlights Indigenous perspectives to a greater and more meaningful extent. We invite educators to begin considering a journey into Environmental Inquiry that is increasingly informed by Indigenous knowledge. For more information about our second edition please visit our website.

Natural Curiosity, in partnership with Learning for a Sustainable Future, also offers institutes for educators of all grades who wish to explore how authentic inquiry is being applied to address expectations in social studies, science, language and other subjects. To learn more, or to register for one of our institutes, please visit

In the Spotlight: SEPN

SEPN2The Sustainability and Education Policy Network (SEPN) is leading a national research study that examines the relationships between sustainability policies and practices in early childhood to grade 12 and post-secondary education in Canada. The study includes: 1) an analysis of existing educational policies; 2) a national survey; and 3) in-depth site analyses at 12 sites to examine sustainability practices and experiences. To mobilize the research findings, various tools such as academic papers, research briefs, infographics, media products, and events have been created for educators, policymakers, and researchers to enhance education practice and policy. For more information, research and tools visit

Conference: SEPN is hosting the Connecting Education and Environment Conference on June 10-11 in Saskatoon. Hosted in partnership with the Sustainability Education Research Institute, Connecting Education and Environment will focus on land, place, environment, and sustainability and connections to education policy, practice, and research. Sessions will focus on K-12 education, higher education, community education, and Indigenous education. The event will be of broad interest to policy makers, administrators, educators, students, sustainability staff, organizations, researchers, and communities. Further information is available at