Long before most of us were thinking ‘green’ and, in particular, about the importance of education as it pertains to environmental stewardship and sustainability, Jacob Rodenburg was a determined trailblazer on a mission.
A field teacher of outdoor education for more than 30 years as well as a longtime environmental education instructor at Trent University, Mr. Rodenburg is the current executive director of Camp Kawartha, an award-winning environmental education centre in Douro-Dummer Township.
Over the course of his career, Mr. Rodenburg has consistently found innovative ways to connect people to nature, as well as to empower youth as agents of change. For his continued efforts, Mr. Rodenburg has been recognized through awards from Otonabee Conservation, the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication, the Ontario Society of Environmental Educators, and Ontario Nature.
Jacob Rodenburg’s vision, leadership and fundraising efforts were key to the establishment of the Camp Kawartha Environment Centre, one of Canada’s most sustainable buildings that showcases ‘green’ building techniques, and has spawned several curriculum-linked environmental programs. Since opening in 2009, the centre has welcomed and educated more than 27,000 elementary, and high school students.
Working with more than 40 organizations, Mr. Rodenburg also conceived, and founded the Pathway to Stewardship and Kinship – an innovative stewardship-fostering approach that identifies key experiences, or landmarks the community at large can deliver to children from the moment they are born, to when they graduate from high school.
In partnership with Trent University, Mr. Rodenburg was integral in the development of an environmental education training program from which more than 350 students and teachers have graduated. More recently, he was also key in the establishment of a national online environmental education program made available to faculties of education across Canada.
Having taught more than 100,000 students to date, Jacob Rodenburg frequently speaks before parent, teacher and community groups, showcasing how they can use local green spaces to connect children to nature. In addition, Mr. Rodenburg has written more than 75 articles on nature and environmental education and, together with Drew Monkman, co-authored a best-selling book entitled The Big Book of Nature Activities. More recently, Jacob Rodenburg published The Book of Nature Education, featuring no fewer than 70 sensory activities that serve to deepen, and strengthen a readers’ connection to nature.