Today’s Poll

Spectacular Vision for Environmental Education in the Kootenays

By Contributor
May 9th, 2014

In the magnificent setting of the Canadian Rockies at Nipika Mountain Resort, environmental educators gathered to participate in a National Environmental Education Leadership Clinic.

Co-hosted by the Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network (CBEEN) and the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication (EECOM), the Clinic offered educators the opportunity to team build, network and enhance leadership skills while developing action plans to address key goals they had set for themselves. Of the eight teams that were selected to participate, four local teams were chosen.

Team Rocky Mountain School District was represented by four teachers from across School District 6. Team Leader Natasha Burgess explained, “Our team has felt inspired and empowered by the beautiful, natural setting of Nipika eco-resort.

“We came to the clinic filled with many ideas and questions, open to innovative answers and new experiences. We truly enjoyed the opportunity to network with other environmental enthusiasts from across Western Canada. We worked together on many common goals and are very excited to take our learning outside.”

Lisa Lehr brought together a team of early childhood educators from the East Kootenays. 

She remarked that “The facility, lodging, catering and hospitality from CBEEN and EECOM created an awe-inspiring four days. Our team came to the clinic with a vision of filling the gaps of EE for children 0-6 years and their families. We went home with the guidance, answers and passion to make our vision a reality.

Monica Nissen from Wildsight expressed that “Our Beyond Recycling Team came to the Leadership Clinic with the goal of developing the program and to devise a new approach to expand its reach and effectiveness. 

“We benefited greatly from the structured sessions, the dedicated planning time, and the opportunities to receive words of wisdom and inspiration from others, and we came away with a solid plan.  We are really excited about our new model for program delivery, which will be a collaborative approach, supporting an inquiry learning journey for participating students, classroom teachers and our program educators.”

The Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network (CBEEN) rounded out the local teams with a team focused on the development of future Environmental Education Leadership Clinics specifically for the Columbia Basin, which it hopes to launch in 2015.

“We know that this is one of the best capacity building opportunities available to help move great ideas into action. We are excited to build on this Leadership Clinic model to provide future Leadership Clinics with a focus on advancing the environmental education community in the Columbia Basin” said Duncan Whittick, Clinic Co-host and CBEEN Executive Director.

This initiative was made possible by generous support from the Columbia Basin Trust, Columbia Power Corporation, Columbia Valley Community Foundation, Wild BC, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Institute for Environmental Learning, Environmental Education Provincial Specialist Association, Metro Vancouver and Nipika Mountain Resort. 

As a result of this year’s success, CBEEN has already started applying for funding and has a goal of offering this incredible leadership opportunity to up to 100 local educators over the next 3 years.

Those wishing to find out more can contact Whittick at info@cbeen.orgor 250-341-6141.

Photo Caption: Beyond Recycling Team (left to right) Mary Searchfield, Monica Nissen, Dawn Deydey and Donna Cameron. — Submitted photo

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