February 11, 19
To Whom It May Concern:
Cydney Weir Award for Environmental Leadership
I would like to nominate Elan Marsall for the Cydney Weir Award. I had the opportunity to get to know Elan well when she enrolled in the Greenall Outdoor School program (ODS). Elan’s passion for the environment comes through in everything that she does. I can’t conceive of anyone more deserving of this award.
Elan’s passion came through in spades during her ODS semester. Whether she was hiking, canoeing, working on projects, spending time learning in the outdoors or in the classroom doing schoolwork, Elan’s positivity was always on full display. Elan finished the semester as one of the top academic ODS students, but it was her passion for the outdoors that separated her from her classmates. When we went bird banding with Jared Clarke she was captivated and was the only student who went back, several times at 5:00 am in the morning to volunteer her time with the MAPs program. Elan was the student who couldn’t get enough of the beauty and splendor of Saskatchewan. Whether we were hiking in Grasslands National Park or canoeing the Churchill River, she was usually the last one up on the hill watching the sunset and the first one out of her tent to watch the sunrise.
After ODS, Elan enrolled in the Conservation and Restoration Ecology (CARE) program at Lakeland College. In the program, Elan’s passion for sharing her love of the environment blossomed. Elan is currently in her second year of the CARE program and is weighing her options of pursuing a bachelor of applied science: in environmental science degree or pursuing an education degree and teaching environmental science. While at Lakeland College, Elan stated, “But somewhere along the way, I was hit with the conservation bug, which has now developed into a full scale passion for species at risk.” It surprised no one that summer when Elan secured employment with a conservation organization.
Between semesters of her studies, Elan can be found volunteering with various outdoor organizations, spending time outside or bird banding. This past summer, Elan was hired as an Engagement Assistant with the Nature Conservancy of Saskatchewan. During her time with the NCC, Elan traveled to several First Nation Schools to give presentations about conservation. Elan’s philosophy for educating youth is simple, “To truly connect with nature it can’t always be about facts and figures, it also has to be about laughs and smiles. While all of our presentations start with an icebreaker and end in a game, possibly the best part of the presentations were the questions from the students.” (Marsall). Elan recounted that at the start of the presentations students would usually be on their phones, but by the end students were engaged and the phones were put away. I wish I had her talent.
At the young age of 20 years old, Elan has already cemented herself as an environmental leader in our province. I have no doubt that she will continue to do amazing things for many years. In Elan’s words, “An attraction to the natural world needs to be nurtured and fostered to mature into a passion for conservation. And a passion and connection to nature is important for understanding why our natural world needs to be protected.”
Greenall Outdoor School Program