Green: ‘I want the award to go to students who understand what it means to get in touch with that wild place in your soul’
The Education Faculty Awards Committee recently caught the winner of the second annual Vicki Green Graduate Award.
Graduate student Angela Finley’s research was chosen on the basis of how it will encourage an interdisciplinary understanding of sustainability for children, youth, and teachers.
Finley’s research investigates “positive global solutions, in constructive and meaningful ways,” she says, by merging sustainability ideas from around the world to create local solutions. Her passion for learning and sharing knowledge motivated her to begin a career in education.
Her previous work, as an organic gardener, created awareness for the need for education in sustainable practices. “The possibilities are quite limitless if we’re willing to keep our minds open,” she says.
Associate Professor Vicki Green is pleased to see her award go to Finley.
“Angela’s interdisciplinary work, including her background as a professional gardener, creates a vision to design sustainable, educational and ecological school models,” says Green. “Angela believes a connection to nature and living systems fosters a sense of belonging.”
Green created the award in 2012 by endowing $50,000 to UBC’s Okanagan campus. The annual scholarship was created for a Faculty of Education graduate student conducting research in social, cultural, political, environmental, or economic sustainability.
In additional to the financial award of $1,700, Finley receives a fly rod, reel, and line from UBC’s Development and Alumni Engagement Office, and a guided outdoor fly fishing adventure package, courtesy of Trout Waters Fly & Tackle and Douglas Lake Ranch; and, a one year subscription to Fly Fusion Magazine, courtesy of the magazine.
While Finley has never fly-fished before, she’s excited about the new experience and the opportunity to learn something new. “The award really puts the idea of sustainability and our relationship to nature back where it needs to be, at the very forefront,” she says.
In the summer of 2012, when the award was presented to its first recipient—Ben Louis, a master of education student—Green explained her motivation for the gift.
“The endowment was inspired by my passion for the outdoors and was created to advance an integrated understanding of our place in nature,” she said. “I want it to go to students who understand what it means to get in touch with that wild place in your soul. For me, when I fly fish, I come to that place. And when you are in that place, you are your most creative self.
“There is a circle of life you come to understand as a teacher—when a student comes to university he or she belongs to your present and you become part of their past. And the cycle of life is all within this sort of permanence of UBC. There is a sense of stability tied to this institution, and it inspires you to start thinking about the future. I wanted to create something to support students that would continue far into the future.
“Our campus has been though an amazing transformation over the last few years, and it’s very exciting to imagine where it will be 10, 20, or even 50 years from now.”