FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Grade 7 French Immersion teacher, Nicole O’Reilly has been awarded the 2019 Energy Educator of the Year prize for her ongoing commitment to environmental education.
The annual prize is recognized as part of the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge (CEDC), funded by Shell Canada is an award-winning educational program created by Canadian Geographic Education, to improve energy literacy among Canadian students.
Nicole O’Reilly’s class was one of nearly 1,400 classrooms from across Canada that participated in the Challenge this year. With 16 energy-related challenges, such as calculating your carbon footprint and going an hour without power, 27,000 students across Canada engaged in the 8th annual Classroom Energy Diet Challenge.
O’Reilly shares she appreciates the recognition the award brings, but she’s even more excited about what her $500 cash prize will do for her school’s eco-initiatives. “The prize money will go right back into Bert Bowes Middle School’s recycling program and green projects, such as our two grow towers,” says O’Reilly. “I also want to offer gifts and prizes to my students who have worked hard volunteering their time sifting through many undesirable things that end up in our recycling. They deserve to be rewarded.”
“Students not only learn about environmental impacts, they take action. Students have taken a leadership role within the school with our recycling program, they’ve designed and implemented competitions and school-wide activities to develop a broader understanding of energy literacy,” says Wade Hart, principal at Bert Bowes Middle School, who shares he is proud of the efforts he has seen in the students because of O’Reilly’s support, which is making a difference in the school and community.
Susan McGarvey, an education coordinator for Northern Environmental Action Team, shares Nicole O’Reilly is one of the rare gems that takes on projects that are above and beyond the typical classroom setting. “Nicole doesn’t just educate her students about energy literacy, she helps them understand the nature and role of energy in their daily lives, and helps them to find creative ways to solve problems,” said McGarvey.
The national Classroom Energy Diet Challenge is an energy literacy program that provides K to 12 students across Canada competition that is fun to help teach students to reduce their carbon footprint and become stewards of the environment.
The annual Educator of the Year prize is given out to teachers to celebrate their contributions to improving energy literacy among Canadian students.