Westminster Woods PS teacher wins 2019 Mike Elrick Environmental Leadership Award
June 27, 2019
Every year, the Upper Grand District School Board presents the Mike Elrick Environmental Leadership Award to a staff member or volunteer who has demonstrated environmental leadership within their school community or school board. This year is the 10th anniversary of the award.
Mike Elrick was an Upper Grand DSB teacher who demonstrated outstanding commitment and leadership in his work on environmental issues within the board. In addition to running the Community Environmental Leadership and Headwaters Programs for fifteen years, he also chaired the board-wide Environmental Issues Committee and was involved in numerous other initiatives within the UGDSB. Mike role modelled environmentally friendly practices from biking to school to washing mugs for staff meetings. Mike passed away in November 2009 from lung cancer.
The recipient of this award is someone who does one or more of the following:
- Drives environmental projects, earth week activities, or advises the environment club within their school
- Models numerous sustainable practices for students, like biking to school, bringing a litterless lunch, or using “good on one side paper”
- Infuses discourse and action on environmental issues into their teaching
- Demonstrates environmental leadership in other ways
In this 10th anniversary year, the UGDSB received 24 nominations of deserving candidates, including 10 brand new nominees. The Award Committee, comprised of previous award recipients and nominees, curriculum leads and the board’s Environmental Sustainability Lead had a difficult decision to make amongst so many deserving nominations.
This year’s winner is Kim Gordon, a teacher at Westminster Woods PS. Kim’s dedication and passion for the environment is evident, as she has been nominated for this award a total of five times, as far back as 2011.
According to Kim’s colleagues, “Kim has been an environmental lead for about 10 years. Each year at Westminster Woods we have qualified as an ECO School and this is largely due to the amazing efforts of Kim Gordon. In the first year we opened, we were Silver, and for the past seven years we have achieved Gold! Each year Kim champions staff and students to help meet requirements for Eco Schools. She holds weekly Green Team/Eco League meetings and supports her students to conduct waste audits, undertake Earth Hour, participate in the Eco Resolution contest, maintain the pollinator garden and host Litterless Lunches on a weekly basis. She successfully implemented a composting program so that each class now has a small compost bin for tissues and paper towels and has recycling competitions amongst the classes. Her ideas for Earth Day activities and assemblies are incredible and in the past have included “Green Olympics” as well as writing and directing a play for our Earth Day assembly. This year she organized a trip to recycling plant in Guelph and coordinated with several schools so we could network and share ideas and issues with other Eco Teams. Overall, Kim dedicates countless hours and recesses helping running our environmental initiatives and models environmental stewardship in everything she does. She does a fantastic job in this leadership role and is highly focussed on supporting the students at our school to be environmentally conscious. Our school wouldn’t be nearly as green without her”!
We congratulate Kim, as well as all nominees this year for their inspiring efforts.