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Expansive education is the future

Women of Inspiration in Revelstoke

~Sobia Moman

Jade Harvey-Berrill is creating space for non-traditional, environmental learning.

Her career as an environmental educator allows her to work with children in School District 19, hold online workshops and write environmental programs for museums.

When students are the subject of her teaching, Harvey-Berrill takes them outdoors so that they can see and feel what they are learning about.

“There are some kids who may find the traditional classroom challenging. Then we go outside and the teacher says, ‘That was the most engaged that student has been all year’ or when a kid says to me that they had the best day, then I know that I’m doing the right thing,” she said.

Working alongside children and helping them succeed has been a passion for Harvey-Berrill since she was young. She spent her summers working in camps and fell in love with the forest around her.

Harvey-Berrill wants young people to be fascinated by the environment and to care about the issues involving the Earth.

Knowledge is the first step to kids taking action for making themselves a better future, she said.

Through many travels around the world, Harvey-Berrill’s curiosity about nature began to grow.

She got to learn about the damages that humans have made on this planet and wanted to learn how to heal and co-exist with nature more harmoniously.

Immigrating from Essex, England, to Canada was not an easy feat. Harvey-Berrill was leaving behind her support system, which was exciting but also daunting for her. “When I came to Canada, I wasn’t sure that I had more to share than the incredible teachers that were already here. I had to learn all the trees and animals that are here. It’s a learning journey for me too,” she said.

Harvey-Berrill has been able to carve out this niche for herself and wants to see it flourish in a more inclusive way.

Providing an outdoor environmental education to people of all ages, in all corners of the province, no matter their socioeconomic status is a change that Harvey-Berrill would like to be a part of.

She also hopes to work with and learn from Indigenous communities because they are the most wise when it comes to caring for the land, she said.

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“One of the biggest problems with where we live and with environmental education, in general, is that it is white middle-class dominated.”