Colleen Anderson

Core Contribution: "Natural Caring"

A bright idea, a sparkle in the eye when telling children a story to entice them to discover in nature, the infectious enthusiasm to spread earth education throughout Parks Canada, Colleen creates ripples of change wherever she goes.

Leadership Contributions: 1995 - ongoing

Leadership in Mysterious Encounters, Winter Treasures and Vision 20/20, plus years as a kindred spirit implementing earth education ideas in Parks Canada programs.

Personal Reflection

It’s been more than a decade since I worked at the AEC, but my experiences there continue to shape the programs I develop as a national park interpreter. And for that, I owe George and Alan a great big thank-you!

I’d say the most important thing I’ve learned from the Centre and its programs is that magic matters. Sure it took extra time and effort to haul out the Leaf Factory each morning (particularly when the leaf was damp), but the results were worth it. The seriousness with which the students reported for duty and followed Chlorophyll Control’s instructions never failed to amaze me. Seeing this has inspired me to incorporate props and characters into my own programs to the point that my boss once challenged me to do a program “straight up” (i.e., dressed as a park interpreter rather than in some crazy costume).

The importance of having a strong storyline to weave everything together has also stuck with me. It’s incredible to see how captivated students become by their mission, even when it involves academic concepts. The programs run by the AEC are nothing short of brilliant, and they were my inspiration a few years back when developing a curriculum-based school program for Kejimkujik. In fact, I actually brought my supervisor to see Mysterious Encounters so he would have an idea of what I was envisioning. Needless to say, he was sold.

Considering the connection I still feel to the AEC, it’s strange for me to see how little time I actually spent working there. It just goes to show how much of a lasting impression the Centre – and its staff – can have on those of us lucky enough to become involved.