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This B.C. educator has been named Canadian Geographic teacher of the year

nicole-oreilly-bertbowes fort st john
Fort St. John teacher Nicole O'Reilly with her middle school class. O'Reilly has been named the 2019 Energy Educator of the Year by the Canadian Geographic Education program. (via Contributed)

A teacher from Bert Bowes Middle School in Fort St. John, B.C. has won a prestigious award for her environmental education and energy literacy in the classroom.

Nicole O'Reilly, a Grade Seven French Immersion teacher, has been named the 2019 Energy Educator of the Year through the Canadian Geographic Education program.

O'Reilly's class was one of 1,400 across Canada to take part in the program's Classroom Energy Diet Challenge from February through April, taking part in 16 energy-related challenges, from going an hour without power, to calculating their carbon footprint, to teaching their families how to use less water.

The award comes with a $500 prize, which O'Reilly says is going back into the school's environmental initiatives.

“The prize money will go right back into Bert Bowes Middle School’s recycling program and green projects, such as our two grow towers,” O’Reilly said in a news release.

“I also want to offer gifts and prizes to my students who have worked hard volunteering their time sifting through many undesirable things that end up in our recycling. They deserve to be rewarded.

The Canadian Geographic Education program began in 2011 to improve energy literacy in Canadian students, and is funded by Shell Canada.

The Educator of the Year award is given to teachers to recognize their contributions to improving energy literacy.

Bert Bowes Principal Wade Hart said O'Reilly's work with her students leaves an impact far beyond the classroom.

“Students not only learn about environmental impacts, they take action," Hart said.

"Students have taken a leadership role within the school with our recycling program, they’ve designed and implemented competitions and school-wide activities to develop a broader understanding of energy literacy."  

- Matt Preprost, Alaska Highway News