We are proud each year to present awards to recognise the fantastic work of environmental educators around the state. The NSW Environmental Educator of the Year Awards recognise individuals in NSW who show outstanding abilities to raise the level of environmental awareness in the community and who provide leadership, innovation and inspiration to others thus contributing to quality environmental education. Congratulations to our 2018 Environmental Educator of the Year Award winners!
Winner, Formal education category and Overall Winner in 2018
Nikki began volunteering at Bungwahl Public School on the mid-north coast of NSW over ten years ago. Starting out in the school canteen, she quickly became Canteen Coordinator and revamped the menu to provide handmade, real food and began overhauling the schools neglected vegetable garden beds. Fast forward ten years, and she has since secured nearly $100,000 in grant and in-kind funding for the school to set up a kitchen garden, bush food garden, green house and aquaponics system and has embedded a comprehensive environmental education teaching program, community outreach programs and teacher training opportunities (while obtaining her own teaching degree). You can see Nikki in action making beeswax wraps with the students here. Congratulations Nikki on the well deserved honour of being the 2018 NSW Environmental Educator of the Year!
Erika Van Schellebeck
Winner, Community education category
Erika has worked with various community groups to protect and enhance our environment for nearly 20 years. She is the volunteer co-convenor of the Mid-North Coast Sustainability Education Network and in her most recent role coordinated the 'Equipping Regional Sustainability Education Networks for change project' which had community development at its core. Through her work on this project, Erika delivered a ‘Leadership for Sustainability’ professional development program for 44 sustainability educators from across NSW and enhanced the capacity, connection and impact of nine NSW Regional Sustainability Education Networks (RSENs) allowing their member educators to deliver a range of on-ground projects across the state. The project leaves a legacy of connected, thriving regional sustainability educator networks, nine best practice sustainability education and engagement case studies, a guide and template for planning a best practice sustainability education and engagement project and a strategic planning template.
Winner, Government education category
Melissa has worked for the past nine years in Local Government for Woollahra Council in their sustainability team providing environmental education for all council staff, residents, schools and businesses and more recently delivering sustainability projects. She has chaired both the Southern Sydney Sustainability Educators Network and Eastern Suburbs Sustainable Schools Network over multiple terms. In 2018, the NSW Environmental Trust released a new dissemination program, Waste As Art, based on Melissa’s work developing environmental education resources to support the Woollahra Environmental Schools Sculpture Prize. A best practice guide and 18 stage 2 and 3 lesson plans based on her work were developed and disseminated. These resources will help other schools and councils run their own waste as art sculpture exhibitions and engage students in meaningful creative arts processes with supporting sustainability education resources.
Bradley van Luyt from Sutherland Shire Council was also acknowledged as a highly commended entry in the Government category for his contribution to Bushcare.
Many thanks to our 2018 prize sponsors
- Jake Cassar Bushcraft for donating a place at a two day/two night workshop on Wildfood and Medicinal Plants, valued at over $350
- Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park for donating a family pass (up to 2 adults and 2 children) to visit the park, valued at $80
Images (L-R) Nikki Dixon in action, Erika Van Schellebeck and Melissa Sellen (each pictured with AAEE NSW Patron Costa Georgiadis and 2017 Winner Nick Carson)