Rossland’s Laura Jackman is one of the educators who took home awards from the 2018 Canadian Environmental Education Conference.
Jackman is described as “a fearless guide in environmental education in School District 20. She has created and implemented a now community-wide, weeklong Bio Blitz, a celebration of environmental education and action that brings together three schools and experts from around the Columbia Basin. She organizes local, regional and provincial Pro-D – from Super Conference to Classrooms to Communities to leading the local EEPSA chapter. She encourages and mentors others without hesitation, with wide-ranging knowledge, and with a sense of vision and enthusiasm. Laura is continuously working on environmental projects with her students, with the latest being a tree identification project. Inquiry walls investigating environment systems and issues adorn the walls in Laura’s classroom, which also features plants, garden boxes, and a life-size paper maché tree in the centre of the classroom. Students who have the gift of being in Laura’s class have rich outdoor learning experiences and develop self-confidence through their hands-on discovery.”
The awards ceremony, which took place on October 20 at St. Eugene Mission Resort, recognized both classroom teachers and community educators who demonstrated excellence in encouraging stewardship and sustainability through environmental education in the Canadian Columbia Basin. Nominated by their peers, and chosen by a committee of past recipients, their experience, collaborative efforts and mentorship have made a positive impact on our entire region.
Besides Jackman, other award recipients were Courtney Haeusler (Fernie), Dawn Deydey (Fernie), Janene Stein (Balfour), Joan Dolinsky (Golden), Katrina Sumrall (New Denver), Kristina Leidums (Creston), Mardelle Sauerborn (Sparwood) and Sheena Stienstra (Castlegar).
Past recipients, Janet Kuijt, Natasha Burgess and Erika Momeyer presented the awards. Burgess remarked, “It was such an honour to be able to stand with past award recipients and recognize the efforts of these nine inspiring educators. As we read about the achievements of each of these individuals, I was reminded again of the incredible work being done across the Columbia Basin. I was also brought back to the feeling of pride and community that came when I received my award, and I hope this year’s award recipients had that feeling as well.”
In addition, the local region brought home two Canadian Awards of Environmental Education Excellence. The Kootenay-Boundary’s School Superintendent Environmental Education Initiative was recognized for their work in supporting place-based learning in schools around the region. And CBEEN’s Executive Director, Duncan Whittick, received the national award for outstanding individual supporting an organization in Canada.
Canadian Awards Chair, Adam Young, reflected that “The EECOM Awards Ceremony is an important moment for environmental educators across the country to honour the individuals and organizations who are leading the way in Canada. We are fortunate to celebrate and learn from award winners and have them as inspiration in our day-to-day practices and decision making on critical environmental teachings.”