Heather Coey is an environmental educator like none other. Her work in eco-leadership at Reynolds Secondary has contributed to the schools reputation for excellent sustainability education. She came to our attention over seven years ago when Science World and the Ministry of Education came together to create BC Green Games.
Each year, Heather has inspired her students at Reynolds Secondary to create dynamic BC Green Games eco-action storytelling projects. Her environmental leadership initiatives cover a lot of ground, including recycling depots, edible wilds and chicken fostering. We connected with Heather to find out more.
Do you have a favourite story from your eco-projects?
Heather: There are lots, but one of them is our Chicken Fostering project. The students love raising the animals and giving them away to families as backyard chickens. Over the years, some of the students have really come forward as being "chicken whisperers." Chickens love them and will ride around on their shoulders and lay in their arms to be rocked. It's a very cool thing.
Reynolds Secondary has a reputation for strong environmental leadership. How do you motivate your students?
Heather: Participate with them, be passionate—it rubs off! Listen to what they are most interested in doing and be authentic. Our projects make a real difference in the community and fill a need.
What do you like most about participating in the BC Green Games?
Heather: What I like best is the motivation it offers. And practically speaking, it's a place to archive our accomplishments, share them with others and earn some money towards future projects, too.
How has the green team and your leadership initiatives affected the culture of your school?
Heather: In a big way! When we get a positive response to our projects in the community we start getting known for it. It rubs off on everyone because they start getting congratulated and feel pride for going to Reynolds. For example, we host our recycling depot for the community every month, which is very much appreciated. Overall, we do a lot of community service with our school—not just eco-initiatives. It makes for a very awesome school culture!