Six local educators have been recognized by CBEEN for their commitment to environmental education. (CBEEN/Submitted file)

Six local educators have been recognized by CBEEN for their commitment to environmental education. (CBEEN/Submitted file)

CBEEN recognizes six basin educators for environmental education

Teachers from Cranbrook, Kimberley, Nakusp, Trail and Castlegar have been recognized

Six local educators have been recognized by the Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network (CBEEN) for their outstanding efforts in educating students on environmental stewardship and sustainability.

CBEEN said in a press release that these teachers were nominated and chosen by a team of volunteers. The educators will be recognized at the provincial Classrooms to Communities Gathering on June 18th.

“Our 2020 recipients represent a diversity of communities and backgrounds, and collectively they have made an incredibly positive impact across our entire region” said Duncan Whittick, Executive Director for CBEEN. “This year has been a particularly challenging one for educators, but it is heartening to see that outdoor and environmental educators are now being broadly recognized as essential to ensuring the health, resiliency, and sustainability of our students and our society.”

CBEEN’s 2020 Awards of Excellence in Environmental Education were awarded to:

· Indigenous Educator – Faye O’Neil (Cranbrook)

· Primary Teacher – Jenn Doll (Cranbrook)

· Intermediate Teacher – Anita Vibe (Nakusp)

· Secondary Teacher – Dan Clark (Kimberley)

· Community Educator – Darcee O’Hearn (Trail)

· Post-secondary Educator – Carol Andrews (Castlegar)

“I cannot express how overwhelmed and proud I am to receive such an amazing compliment. To be recognized by my peers like this…I have no words other than pure gratitude,” said O’Hearn, who is the author of ‘Legends of the Forest’, a series of books that connect youth to their natural world using clever legends that help identify trees.

“Being given this award encourages and motivates me. I believe we need to keep creating positive learning opportunities that teach generations of people about their community, their province, their nation, and their world to ensure the future of these places are respectfully honoured,” said Doll. “It’s important to nurture environmental literacy opportunities with caring, insightful, and fun activities.”

Doll teaches her students recycling, reducing and worm composting along with ensuring Indigenous history and ways of knowing are recognized throughout the curriculum.

“I love my job and my reward has always been the sharing that takes place between me and my students. This award is a wonderful recognition from my peers and the community,” said Andrews. Andrews is a registered professional forester and worked as a consultant across the province before becoming an instructor in the School of Environment and Geomatics at Selkirk College in Castlegar.

O’Neil is a member of the ?aqam Community in the Ktunaxa Nation. She is the Aboriginal Education Coordinator for Southeast School District 5, and she previously worked in Delta School District as an Aboriginal Support Worker. She sits on the ?aqam Education Committee and Lands Committee, and she also has been actively engaged in supporting educators across the region by helping connect their programs and lessons with Indigenous knowledge, perspectives and land-based learning.

As an educator within the school system, Clark has led multi-day outdoor trips with his students at the Kimberley Alternate School (KAS). He has also worked with the Interpretive Guides Association, creating resources and training opportunities for educators. He is well versed in risk management and shares this knowledge freely with others. And he is dedicated to incorporating the First Nations Principles of Learning across his teaching practice, making the Circle of Courage a foundation for programming at KAS.

Vibe’s classes participate in a wide range of outdoor learning opportunities. She mentors students to understand their role as change makers and responsible caretakers of their place. From learning about our watershed to hatching chicks, Anita weaves the importance of nature and the stories of those that walked the earth before us into her curriculum.

READ MORE: ‘Caught off guard’: B.C.’s online independent schools criticize funding cuts

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corey.bullock@cranbrooktownsman.com

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