EECOM presented our 2017 Awards of Excellence in Wolfville, Nova Scotia on May 20. These awards recognize individuals and organizations that have collectively influenced hundreds of thousands of Canadian citizens, and helped implement one of EECOM’s key goals – to advance environmental learning, ensuring Canadians are environmentally literate, engaging in environmental stewardship and contributing to a healthy, sustainable future.
Outstanding Educator: Julie Mathieson – Virden, Manitoba
As the head of her school’s Education for Sustainable Development committee for her school, Julie’s work goes far beyond the classroom walls. She is very active in her community, including working with the Upper Assiniboine River Conservation District, regional and provincial envirothons, along with local Wetland Centre of Excellence programming, and her community’s water festival. Creating her own environmental science course, her students have participated in the Caring for Our Watersheds competition; the Recycle your Cell Phone competition; the Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-Up, competed in the Manitoba Conservation District multimedia competition; and made brochures advising community members how to make a rain garden.
Outstanding Organization – The Wetland Centres of Excellence
The Wetland Centres of Excellence/ Centres d’excellence des milieux humides (WCE/CEMH) form a national network of dedicated educators, students, supportive administrators, and communities working to conserve wetlands. They have constructed boardwalks, banded birds, built nest boxes, written and designed interpretive signs, planted and restored wetlands, tested birds for avian flu, conducted water quality tests, and carried out a myriad of other student-directed projects in their local communities. Over the years, WCE/CEMH students have acted as advocates for wetland conservation, including taking part in meetings with provincial and federal politicians, and several have gone on to pursue careers in conservation and related fields. There are 25 established WCE/CEMHs across Canada involving more than 30 schools and others are under development.
Outstanding Individual in an Organization: Maureen Jack-LaCroix, – Vancouver, British Columbia
Maureen is the founder the non-profit organization, Be The Change Earth Alliance, with a mission to support global sustainability through education that empowers behaviour change. Maureen co-wrote, edited and published the Be the Change Circles Action Guide; led a public education program delivering symposia in community centres throughout Metro Vancouver; and catalyzed the formation of action circles wherein hundreds of citizens took thousands of actions to align their lifestyles with environmental values. Over the past five years her work has been used by 250+ teachers, engaging 17,000+ students in 100,000+ actions, reducing 500,000 kg. of CO2 from bio-atmosphere. The combination of on-line resources, research activities in the community, action surveys and classroom presentations, helps students develop critical thinking, creative communication and empower personal responsibility.
Outstanding Post-Secondary Education: Dr. Alan Warner, George Taylor, & Terri Peace – Wolfville and Halifax, Nova Scotia
Dr. Alan Warner and George Taylor have collaborated for decades on creating original programming for children, families and communities to get the people of Nova Scotia out into the forests, fields and environs of Mi’kmaqi. This program has engaged a whole new generation of leaders that are willing to step up and engage the next generation. Alan and George have been dedicated to environmental education for a lifetime; but they continue to innovate and come up with new and exciting ways to hook a new generation on nature. Terri’s passion for environmental education and youth change was shown to us today with the student performance of Mindshift. As a programmer at the Adventure Earth Centre in Halifax, she has shaped a number of lives, not only of the student performers, but the outreach they have done. The Re-Connecting with Nature initiative has taken off been very successfully in Nova Scotia. In the last two years, the Re-Connecting with Nature workshop has reached nearly 250 leaders with an outdoor, experiential program and been very well received. This workshop series has reached as many leaders in 18 months as the NS Outdoor Leadership Development Program, which previously provided environmental education, interpretation and recreation leadership workshops, reached in 15 years.
Outstanding K-12: Rivers Collegiate – Rivers, Manitoba
Nestled close to Brandon Manitoba in the town of Rivers, the students have been involved from the development of signage, developing and building an alternative wind power source, building bird houses, docks, walkways, and continue to develop a reclaimed CN track site into an amazing wetland site. This wetland conservation is not isolated to the students but has engaged the community as well. They have received a 2016 National Award from the Canadian Wildlife Association and a Manitoba Provincial Conservation Award.
Outstanding Youth Action: Connel Bradwell – Victoria, British Columbia
Connel is a Wildlife Education Manager for Northwest Wildlife Preservation Society running free education programs on Vancouver Island. He designs and delivers engaging presentations and nature walks, designed to get young people from K-12 excited and passionate about the wildlife and environment on their doorstep, reaching over 35000 people in the process. Connel fundraises for the free programs, raising almost $30,000. He volunteers in orca conservation & with a bird banding group, and writes a successful blog ‘Talk of the Wild’ that was highly commended by BBC Wildlife Magazine. In 2016, Connel was selected from 1000 applicants to attend the inaugural Youth Forum for People and Wildlife in South Africa. He has since co-founded Youth for Wildlife Conservation, a global network aimed at bringing youth together to save wildlife and to give youth more of a voice in conservation.
For more information on EECOM’s Annual Awards of Environmental Education Excellence go to: http://wp202501.wpdns.ca/awards.