Nelson/Castlegar educator one of 7 to be honoured by CBEEN

May 16th, 2024

Last week, CBEEN’s Awards of Excellence recognized seven outstanding local educators from across the Columbia Basin region for their efforts in educating students and the public on environmental stewardship and sustainability.

“The 2024 award winners include early years, elementary, post-secondary, and community educators. All are committed to creating opportunities for people to connect with, learn about, and learn from our amazing local environment” said Mia King, Program Manager for the Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network (CBEEN). “We are grateful for their dedication to bringing outdoor learning opportunities for students, professionals, and community members throughout the Columbia Basin.”

CBEEN’s 2024 Awards of Excellence in Environmental Education were awarded to:

  • Post-Secondary Educator – Allison Lutz (Nelson/Castlegar)
  • Intermediate Teacher – Dylan Dainard (Invermere)
  • Early Years Educator – Emma Shaw (Invermere)
  • Community Educator – Jessie King (Invermere)
  • Primary Teacher – Katie Niddrie (Windermere)
  • Community Educator –Kim Urbaniak (Kimberley)
  • Intermediate Teacher – Ricki Thomson (Cranbrook)

Post-secondary educator Allison Lutz said, “I am incredibly grateful for this recognition from CBEEN. I feel so fortunate to be able to work in environmental education with impassioned students and dedicated colleagues in the beautiful Columbia Basin.  Teaching and learning about nature is hopeful and empowering for all involved, it instills a sense of wonder and inspires us all to keep up the work of being environmental stewards and advocates.”

CBEEN dewscribes Lutz as, ” an incredible student-first educator. She has been working at Selkirk College, having taught human geography, hydrology, maps, and navigation. She brings her A game to each and every lesson. She is a kind, caring community member and many have gained from her thoughtfulness. Allison inspires the rest of the faculty to give and provide quality education with humour and relevant, current content. Not only does she teach at the college, but she also volunteers on the sustainability committee and has been active with Friends of Kootenay Lake for over a decade. She goes the extra mile with students and inspires them to contribute in a larger way. The one word that Allison’s nominator used to describe her is ‘glowing’.”

Katie Niddrie, primary teacher at Windermere Elementary School said, “I am flattered to have received this award and I don’t feel like I deserve it because I feel like I am fairly new to outdoor learning (been doing it consistently for only the last 3 years). However, in my short experience with weekly outdoor time with my students, I have grown to enjoy and appreciate the value of this time immensely. I see students thrive in an outdoor and unstructured environment that would otherwise struggle in the classroom setting. I have seen peers connect in different ways than usual and I have learned to recognize the importance of good ol’ time in nature and learning beyond the 4 walls of the classroom. This past year, I helped to plan and facilitate 6 whole school, full day field trips to 2 familiar locations in our area (3 visits to each) as an initiative to get our students and staff to think and learn more about indigenous ways of knowing and being. My question to our school community was “How do we connect to the land?” and “Why is this land important?” It brought us all more gratitude for the beautiful place we live in and for the history and ways of our local Secwépmec Peoples, Ktunaxa Peoples, and Métis peoples of BC.

Four of the seven educators were recognized during an awards ceremony at the 2024 Outdoor Learning Conference held in Banff May 9-11, 2024. https://takemeoutside.ca/conference/.

Categories: EducationGeneral


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