Dr. Garth Pickard – Professor Emeritus

Nomination Letter: We would like to post-humously nominate Dr. Garth Pickard for the SaskOutdoors - Bernie Melanson Award. Garth was an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to outdoor and environmental education in Saskatchewan. Dr. Pickard joined the Faculty of Education, University of Regina in July, 1978 following Faculty appointments at Brock University, York University, and the University of Alberta. He retired from the University of Regina in December, 2011. During his 33 year tenure in the Faculty, Dr. Pickard taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Physical Education, Outdoor Education and Educational Leadership.  His commitment and dedication to the Health, Outdoor, Physical Education (HOPE) Subject Area and the preparation of teachers in these fields was unparalleled.  His experiential pedagogical approaches were very engaging and very meaningful for students.  Garth’s passion for teaching and learning through human movement permeated his teaching! Through his involvement with the HOPE program, he influenced many pre-service teachers who have now gone on to make it their life goal to take their students outdoors.  A former student of Garth’s, Samantha Gunn, has this to say: “The gift of having Garth as a teacher is that his stories, songs, and antics keep revealing lessons as I age. Interactions that I thought were odd or silly as a beginning teacher, have revealed themselves to have deep meaning just below the surface. Garth’s commitment to maintaining a holistic understanding of the world meant that lessons were filled with emotion, physicality, relationship, and reflection. He generously brought his whole self to the learning experience, and he expected the same from us. He taught me that the world is the best textbook we have, that love is the most important ingredient when building a fire, and that it only takes 5 minutes to form a meaningful connection to a pinecone. His influence on me has been profound, and I consider him to be the catalyst for my career in outdoor and environmental education.” In addition to his work with the HOPE program, he also held the administrative positions of Associate Dean of Student Services and Undergraduate Programs; Director of Professional Development and Field Experiences; Director of the Centre for International Teacher Education as well as the Director of the Canada, China University Linkage Program. Following his retirement, Dr. Pickard remained active and steadfast in his passion and work with UNESCO – International Network for Re-orienting Teacher Education towards Sustainability and the United Nations University Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development. Roger Petry from the Sask RCE said of his passing, “Garth worked tirelessly behind the scenes on sustainability and environmental education. He inspired and guided us in the formative years of our Regional Centre of Expertise on ESD in 2007 up to the present and served a key role in our RCE as Co-coordinator of our working group on Sustainable Infrastructure. Garth believed that great change was possible and that this change could be brought about through holistic, integrated, and interdisciplinary approaches to education. Garth knew, above all, that education for sustainable development was a matter of the heart and his energy and love of life was only matched by his love for our planet.” Garth was always thinking about teachers who had a passion for environmental and outdoor education and kept in touch by sending little notes of new ideas, new websites, and words of encouragement. Garth continued to research and write after his retirement, and contributed to the SaskOutdoors Of Land & Living Skies: A Community Journal on Place, Land, and Learning. Garth was an extremely passionate and influential educator, and a very dedicated and authentic friend. We believe that Dr. Garth Pickard is a most deserving and worthy candidate for the Bernie Melanson Award. Sincerely, Karen McIver and Dr. Nick Forsberg