“It’s encouraging to see companies take an active role in environmental responsibility at the same time they are able to offer employment to support the community.”
Just after school doors closed for summer and students began vacation, 25 teachers from across the province of Alberta joined Inside Education to learn first-hand about energy sources and environmental impacts of development in the province.
Alberta Teachers and representatives from
Inside Education pose for a photo at
Jackfish, Devon's SAGD Facility.
“The Energy and Environment Education Institute is our flagship professional development program,” says Steve McIsaac, Executive Director of Inside Education. “It provides teachers with information and experiences they share with their students, their colleagues, friends and neighbours.”
This year, more than 60 teachers applied and 25 of the top applicants were accepted to participate in this unique opportunity to travel as far north as Fort McMurray to learn about the oil sands, as far south as Pincher Creek to experience alternative and renewable energy and everything in between.
Throughout the week, teachers learned about primary energy sources powering Alberta including an investigation of the oil sands, coal, coal-bed methane and alternative and renewable sources (wind, solar, hydro and bio-energy). Speakers shared their perspectives on energy and the environment through presentations and hands-on demonstrations, offering teachers tools and resources to take back to the classroom.
At Suncor’s Millennium Mine, participants learned about traditional oil sands development and were in awe of the scale of the operation.
Lyne Lalande, Nanton teacher, is
excited to visit wind farm in Pincher Creek.
“I never thought I’d get to see the oil sands up close,” says Carlee Hurl, Uncas Elementary School, near Sherwood Park. “It’s so much better in real life than in the pictures.”
While at Devon’s Jackfish site, teachers had a lesson in SAGD development.
“Jackfish opened my eyes to how far technology has come and the potential we have to use innovation to continue to enjoy the planet in a sustainable and responsible way,” says Francesca Corbett, Centennial High School Calgary. “As teachers, we share knowledge through personal experiences and story telling and the Jackfish story is certainly worth telling!”
The program wrapped up with an Aboriginal Awareness session led by Bee Schadeck, Devon’s Senior Aboriginal Relation Advisor. Bee did a history lesson on Aboriginal people in Canada and shared some personal experiences as an Aboriginal woman working in the oil and gas industry.
Bee Schadeck, Devon’s Senior Aboriginal Relation
Advisor, answers teachers' questions after
her presentation at the Institute.
“The institute is an opportunity to foster positive attitudes and values about Alberta’s energy industry with regard to the economical, environmental and social impacts,” says Michelle Colangelo, Eleanor Hall School, Clyde Alberta. “It’s encouraging to see companies take an active role in environmental responsibility at the same time they are able to offer employment to support the community.”
How do we know the program was successful?
“We can’t believe the number of teachers who keep coming back to Inside Education to build on their knowledge from past sessions,” explains Steve. “We know it’s valuable when more than 60 teachers apply to spend a week of their precious summer preparing for the school year ahead.”