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The Story of an Award-Winning Green Teacher!

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Nina Matthews, a grade 4/5 teacher at Bluenose Academy, has had quite a list of green accomplishments this year. She is making positive changes in her school and community as she and her students explore ways to help the environment, be energy efficient, and waste less.

From the minute Nina responded to my first email, I knew that she would be a great school liaison for all things green. Nina is a force of nature, she is super energetic and loves to get her students involved in exciting green projects. She never seems to miss out on an opportunity. For example, she signed up for the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge. Once I found out that she had registered for the challenge, I sent her an email with some resources to help, such as support packages with many activities and suggestions to encourage energy efficient behaviours that waste less.

I was thrilled to receive Nina’s enthusiastic invitation for a virtual visit about how to save energy with our virtual presentation: History Before Electricity. She also I invited me to talk about litterless lunches so students could learn about plastic, our ocean plastic problem, where their food comes from, and how much energy is used to get each food item to their plate (for example, from transportation, refrigeration, and storage). Nina has done many upcycling activities with her class and they have also been working hard to turn off unnecessary lights throughout the school all year long. For Earth Day, I was invited to do a presentation on energy and how to reduce our ecological footprint, and Nina also organised a whole schoolyard clean-up with her students!

As a follow-up to our engagement, Nina gave her students an English assignment. Here are some quotes from their work:

If I was the prime minister, I would…

“…live in a house without electricity.”

“…give money to the province for renewable energies, tidal power, solar panels… ”

“…ban paper cups and make the people use travel mugs…”

“…make people to not leave the water own when they brush their teeth and only use the water after you spit.”

“…make people use solar panels so they would not use electricity and to unplug things.”

“…make people use LED lights and stuff with Energy Efficiency.”

“…encourage people to ban plastic bags and use reusable bags. ”

“…make people pick their own strawberries instead of buying them in a plastic container.”

“…ban any sort of bad pollution.”

“If you do not have a recycling bin and a composting one, I would make you get one!”

“Anyone who is littering or pollution the planet or another planet would be arrested.”

“There will be no more plastic!”

What awesome impact one teacher can have on students, the citizens of planet Earth! I can’t wait to see Nina’s new Green Schools NS Growth Chart proudly displaying the new green team’s school initiatives!

Ms Matthews’ devotion towards her students, her eagerness to engage them on environmental issues and energy efficiency is impressive. This spring, Nina Matthews became the 2018 Energy Educator of the year for Canada, a prestigious title awarded by Canadian Geographic Education. I did not hesitate one moment when she asked me to write her a recommendation letter. On May 16th, The Chronicle Herald wrote an article about her and she was also interviewed on the radio show CBC Mainstreet NS that same day, and she even mentioned Green Schools NS!

Green Schools Nova Scotia is a program brought to you by Efficiency Nova Scotia to enhance environmental sustainability at schools, in the classroom and school community. It doesn’t require any extra time commitment or extra-curricular activities from teachers. Our program is now working with two-thirds of all public schools, and many private schools across the province! We use different resources including virtual and in-person presentations, activities, and support packages to help empower students to make decisions that keep the Earth in mind and save energy in every aspect of their lives. We are dedicated to helping the whole school community to be more efficient. We can help plan, support, develop and implement the green goals of all our participating schools.  

Once you become part of the Green Schools community, a new journey begins! You never know where it will take you!

I look forward to engaging more students, supporting more teachers, and visiting more green schools in the coming school year. 

See you in September 2018!

~Marlène Le Bel
Engagement Officer, CSAP

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