Recipients presented with awards at CBEEN’s Annual Gathering at Whatshan Lake Retreat on Sept. 21 (Left to right) Kate Ruoss, Jenn Means, Doris Hausleitner, Laurie Neeve, Melissa Flint). (Photo submitted)

Creston educator recognized for excellence

Creston resident Melissa Flint, a community educator, has been recognized by the Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network (CBEEN) for her excellence in encouraging stewardship and sustainability through environmental education.

Flint was presented with a 2019 Award of Excellence for supporting students through a variety of programs in developing a deeper understanding of the connections between humans and the earth.

“I am so happy and humbled to be part of the celebration of truly inspired educators!” said Flint.

Other recipients of the award of excellence include:

Joe Pierre (Cranbrook/ʔaq̓am) for his mentorship in connecting Indigenous knowledge and land-based learning with students and teachers across the learning region.

Ingrid Liepa (Kimberley) for her leadership in climate change education and action across communities in the Columbia Basin.

Kate Ruoss (Cranbrook) for building capacity for community support as a primary teacher and through her leadership with the East Kootenay Environmental Educators Association (EKEEPSA).

Laurie Neeve (Kimberley) for consistently leading by example as an intermediate teacher and through her leadership with the Rocky Mountain Place-based Learning Network.

Jenn Means (Kimberley) for her passion and willingness to share through her role as a secondary teacher and through her leadership with the Rocky Mountain Place-based Learning Network.

Doris Hausleitner (Castlegar) for her passion and dedication to connecting post-secondary students with the knowledge, skills and connections to be successful in the environmental field.

“There are wonderful educators throughout the Columbia Basin who make it a daily practice to appreciate nature, and this award inspires me to continue to teach about our wonderful area,” said Cranbrook teacher Kate Ruoss.

“I feel appreciated and motivated to press on with a little extra spark, and I’m sure that all the other recipients felt the same,” said Laurie Neeve, a teacher from Kimberley.

“We never do this type of work for awards, we do it because we love the environment, we love working with youth, and we love the idea of life-long learning,” said Joe Pierre. “For me, the greatest “reward” is when a former student comes up to me and enthusiastically says, “Kiʔsuk kyukyit Mr. Pierre,” and I think to myself, “Hey, that kid just spoke Ktunaxa.”

Peers nominate recipients of the award, and nominations are reviewed and adjudicated by a committee made up of past recipients.

“Being part of the CBEEN Awards of Excellence Review committee begins as a daunting task but always leaves me inspired,” said CBEEN director and awards committee representative Janet Kuijt “It is such a wonderful celebration of the continuous growth of environmental education in our region as well as the incredible educators who are leading these amazing initiatives.”

Also read: Creston students share the story of Orange Shirt Day

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