David Suzuki Fellowship: 2021 Winners
Grand Prize Winner
Master of Teaching (Primary/Junior), OISE- University of Toronto
Georgia Hinton (she/her) is a white, queer, settler educator living on and working from Treaty 13 territory, the traditional territory of the Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Chippewa, Haudenosaunee, Métis, and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. She recently graduated from the Master of Teaching program (Primary/Junior) at OISE. Before graduate school, she spent three years teaching English overseas in South Korea and Taiwan. Now having returned to Canada, Georgia is committed to reconnecting with what it means to teach environmental education as a settler educator.
Georgia’s graduate research investigated how non-Indigenous teachers working in primary/junior education in Ontario are incorporating Land-based learning in their environmental education classes. Her qualitative study revealed non-Indigenous teachers’ understandings of Land-based learning, their approaches to active learning in the environment, their perceptions of decolonization, and the systemic challenges they experience. Georgia’s research fuels her fundamental belief in social and ecological justice approaches to learning in, about, and for the environment.
Georgia works to apply what she has learned from her research to advocating for the environment in her teacher practice. In her most recent practicum placement, she developed a hands-on and experiential nature-based lesson in which students diagnosed with ASD learned how to plant a seed. This inquiry-based lesson could be extended, accommodated, or modified to fit the unique learning needs and growth of each individual student. In learning how to take care of a living thing, students demonstrated care, love, and empathy for their environment, their peers, and themselves. Georgia seeks to engage the head, the hands, and the heart to teach students to create and nurture a reciprocal relationship with the Earth.
OISE MT - University of Toronto
Ellen is a recent graduate of the Masters of Teaching program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Born and raised in Peterborough, Ontario, Ellen was encouraged to learn about nature and immerse herself in the outdoors from a young age. Her sense of adventure took her to the east coast to complete her undergraduate degree at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, majoring in Biology and English. She had the opportunity to study birds through hands-on field courses, which sparked a love for field work and led her to pursue a Masters of Science at Trent University in the Environmental and Life Sciences program.
Throughout her life, Ellen has been drawn to educating and engaging others in the wonders of the natural world. This passion led her to pursue teaching, a vocation where she can creatively merge her interdisciplinary experiences with her love of guiding students to a sense of belonging and purpose.
As a woman conducting scientific field research, Ellen has felt the significance of developing one’s own confidence, knowledge, and skills through experiential learning. She is curious about how educators nurture their self-care and passion for nature through personal practices and how they build connections that cultivate student and community well-being. Her research interests lie in how a holistic approach to experiential science education can support student well-being on a physical, mental, and emotional level.
Ellen is a strong advocate for outdoor education and freedom in communicating science as it promotes greater student engagement in science and nature. She believes that science education can benefit from a community-based approach as well as conversations about stewardship and social justice. In her teaching, Ellen aims to delve deeper into activism by approaching these questions through an environmental and sustainability lens.
Taylor Simon is a Bachelor of Education graduate from Trent University and a passionate outdoor educator. She has always had a love for nature, and spent her childhood exploring and observing animals and insects in their natural habitats. Taylor spent multiple summers running outdoor education programs at a local wildlife centre where she worked with orphaned and injured animals. Her experiences fostered compassion and empathy for the environment, which she shared with the children she taught. This was her inspiration to become a teacher.
In teachers’ college, Taylor explored Indigenous perspectives and outdoor education through the Enwayaang Institute’s “Indigenous Foundations in Health and Education” certificate, the School of Education’s Indigenous Firekeeping placement, and the Eco-Mentorship Program.
During the COVID-19 lockdowns, she continued her professional education by participating in The Council of Outdoor Educators of Ontario’s virtual Ontario Wilderness Leadership Symposium, taking the Project Wild, Below Zero, and Project Wet workshops, and completing her Advanced Wilderness and Remote First Aid training.
These professional development opportunities helped Taylor learn more about the lasting impact of colonization and the importance of implementing Indigenous perspectives and environmental education in her teaching.
In the classroom, Taylor used an experiential-based approach for the Social Studies unit she taught. She utilized her placement school’s “green classroom” to facilitate seasonal activities, animal track identification, and the exploration of flora and fauna unique to Ontario.
Taylor is excited to begin her teaching journey with the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board and incorporating outdoor experiential learning through nature connections and Indigenous perspectives.