A Slocan Valley educator received an award of excellence from the Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network for her efforts in educating students and the public on environmental stewardship and sustainability.
Rita Corcoran has made environmental education her life’s focus by instilling a code of environment ethics among young people.
“I felt very honored and delighted to have won it,” says Corcoran. “They presented it to me at a conference in Revelstoke. It was really inspiring.”
Corcoran says the purpose of educating youth on environmental issues is to foster a connection to nature.
“It is really about helping them to connect with the natural world,” says Corcoran. “To spend time outside in the elements and all sorts of weather and just getting to know the local plants and animals in a closer way.”
She feels outdoor education will grow over the next few years as people understand the importance the environment and the impact climate change is having.
“There is a lot of interest especially among parents,” she says. “With the climate crisis issues it has really brought outdoor education to people’s consciousness to learn more about our natural ecosystem.”
According to a news release, Corcoran operates weekly classes for K-3 students that immerses them in place-based learning and normalizes being outdoors.
She is one of 12 educators being recognized, but the only one from the West Kootenay.
“The 2022 award winners include early years, Indigenous, and community educators, along with primary and intermediate teachers,” says Mia King, program manager for the Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network in the release. “All are committed to creating opportunities for people to connect with, learn about, and learn from our amazing local environment.”