"John is a gentle, concerned person – concerned for the environment and for the quality of life."
(Melanson Award Citation, 1984)
John Schaller (Melanson Award Winner, 1984)
John Schaller taught social studies in New York State (Grades 6-12) before joining the Faculty of Education, University of Regina in 1969. By 1971, he and Dr. Joe Kalla were instrumental in setting up the teacher training experience at the Faculty. This involves a three-day Fall and three-day Winter outdoor experience currently held at Fort San. He often assists teaching the Winter Outdoor Education class at the University of Regina. In addition, he has been involved with Churchill River canoe trips, studies at Stanley Mission, and field trips to Hutterite colonies and Indian Reserves. Through interests in early childhood education he focused on playgrounds and outdoor play. Recently he has initiated a “telling the environment story with special purpose maps” in EDSST 218 classes. He has fostered the incorporation of an outdoor education component into the secondary education program.
John voiced his opinion in speeches and papers on social studies in outdoor education, on social studies at Saskairie and outdoor education development at SOEEA. He served as co-chairman with Bernie Melanson of SOEEA's Steering Committee from 1972-75, which was an exponential growth phase for SOEEA. He was a faithful member and regular attender at our conferences, workshops and annual meetings.
Canoeing and camping were some of John’s favorite activities. He was also passionate about gardening and knew how to build and fix anything. John loved talking about medicine, nutrition, politics, economics, and the spirit world.
John actively involved himself in the Canadian Red Cross, Unicef’s Year of the Child and Ranch Ehrlo. He served on university committees and the Lutheran church’s Native Support Committee. Ranch Ehrlo was a special interest of his because he spent many hours in the principal’s office as a young boy and Ranch Ehrlo was a school dedicated to at-risk students. John was on the board of Ranch Ehrlo for many years, and two of the Ranch schools have been named for him — the Schaller School and the Schaller Education Center.
John is recognized as a leader in outdoor and environmental education. By his persistent dedication at the University of Regina and with SOEEA, and by his personal example, he has influenced many people and provided direction.
John passed away in 2014 at age 87.
John Schaller Melanson Award Citation, SOEEA, 1984
John Woods Schaller Obituary, Independent Record, February 18, 2014