“This program does something that teachers strive for but rarely achieve: It brings our curriculum to life. And I think you changed lives in the process.”
Nutrien was named a global leader in environmental education by the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE).
The association gave the company its global-level Outstanding Service to Environmental Education Award in 2015. NAAEE promotes and celebrates environmental education initiatives that teach children and adults how to learn about and investigate their environment – and to make intelligent, informed decisions about how they can take care of it. This award is given annually to individuals and organizations at the local, regional and global levels.
“Teaching younger generations about the importance of good environmental stewardship is a key component of Nutrien’s sustainability programs,” said Leslie O’Donoghue, 2015 Executive Vice President, Corporate Development and Strategy, and Chief Risk Officer. “We are delighted to receive such a prestigious award that recognizes our efforts and successes in this area.”
Nutrien received this award thanks to its Caring for Our Watersheds (CFW) program. CFW asks students to submit a proposal that answers the question, “What can you do to improve your watershed?” Students must research their local watersheds, identify environmental concerns and propose realistic solutions. Community judges select the top entries to compete in a verbal competition and awards are given to participating students and their schools or clubs.
Nutrien also provides implementation funding to help turn the students’ ideas into realistic solutions that help improve our land, water and air. From the programs inception in 2007 to 2015, nearly 12,000 students participated, and implemented over 150 projects with the help from community mentors. As of 2015, about 65 community partners worked together to execute the program and mentor the students across contest locations in Canada, the United States, Argentina, and Australia (2012-2016).
“I absolutely love working with Caring for Our Watersheds program,” says Gwen Roth of the Cincinnati, Ohio-based Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District, which nominated Nutrien for the award. “The best part of the program is that students actually receive the help, mentorship and money to make their ideas a reality. It is wonderful to see their happiness and sense of satisfaction when they realize they accomplished something lasting and meaningful.”
Caring for our Watersheds is a leading environmental education program, because it offers real-life experience, while complementing school curriculum, says Lindsey Verhaeghe, 2015 Program Coordinator at Nutrien.
“It brings together the strengths of educations and conservation experts into a joint effort of tangible environmental stewardship,” Lindsey notes. “Moreover, the students build life skills that will help them the rest of their lives.”