"Lyle was “larger than life”, cherishing every moment with family and constantly marveling at the beauty and wonder of the world around him."
(from Lyle Benko obituary, 2016)
Lyle Benko (Melanson Award Winner, 2006)
Lyle was born and raised in Regina. Lyle’s father was one of the first people who got him interested in the natural environment. Lyle has fond childhood memories of enjoying the outdoors with his dad, being out at their cottage at Regina Beach, planting many cotoneaster seedlings around the cottage, playing golf out there with his dad, and listening for the first meadowlark of the Spring every year in Regina with his dad. Lyle’s early years gave him strong memories of experiencing the out of doors, the smells, the sights and the sounds. This is something he tried to convey to his students. Through acclimatization activities, Lyle tried to leave his students with sensory impressions they’ll remember.
Another person who had an impact on Lyle was Bernie Melanson. Lyle first met Bernie when he was a young Secondary Science Education student at the UofR about 35 years ago. She gained the students’ respect, not only for her innovative strategies as a young Chemistry professor, but also because she knew how to have a great time when she came on field trips with the students. Through these field trips Lyle soon came to realize vividly the impact of her love of learning together in the outdoors.
Lyle served as a teacher, administrator, and consultant in the Regina Catholic School Division for over 30 years. Following that, Lyle shared his talents at the University of Regina as a teacher in the Faculty of Education. Lyle also served as president of L*A*M*B* Consulting Inc., working internationally, nationally and provincially with Education for Sustainable Development and Climate Change. Lyle was also the Co-coordinator of the Regional Center of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development (RCE Saskatchewan). Lyle has presented at the United Nations in New York, he was part of the Bonn Declaration development in Germany and he presented at the 9th Global RCE Conference in Japan.
Lyle has worked tirelessly to support the work of many important boards and committees including: Society Environment & Energy Developments Studies (SEEDS); Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan (APEGS); SaskPower Shand Board of Directors; Saskatchewan Outdoor and Environmental Association (SOEEA); the Saskatchewan Science Centre Board; the Learning for a Sustainable Future (LSF) Board; Wings Over Wascana (WOW); the Canadian Western Agribition (CWA); the Green Ribbon Community Climate Change Advisory Committee and the City of Regina Environmental Advisory Committee.
Throughout his career, Lyle received numerous distinctions including the University of Regina “Inspiring Teacher Award”. The driving force behind all of this work was Lyle’s hope to ensure a sustainable future for his grandchildren. One of Lyle’s favourite quotes was from a Senegalese Poet, Baba Dioum. “In the end, we conserve what we love. We love what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.”
Most importantly, Lyle was a loving and devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He was “larger than life”, cherishing every moment with family and constantly marveling at the beauty and wonder of the world around him. Lyle had many passions including: camping and spending time outdoors, curling, the Saskatchewan Science Centre, swimming, classic cars, playing his accordion, listening to music, the Toronto Maple Leafs, collecting owls, making yearly additions to his Christmas village and cheering on his grandchildren in their every endeavour.
Lyle passed away in 2016.
Lyle Benko Melanson Award Citation, SOEEA, 2006.
Lyle Benko Obituary, 2016.