Kevin O'Connor
  • Kevin O'Connor

    Associate Professor and Chair, Mount Royal University
  • CEE-Change Fellow
  • 2021

Kevin joins the Fellowship from Calgary, Alberta. The skills he brings to the Fellowship are community partnership development and teacher education. Establishing partnerships between and within communities is a skill he intends to capitalize on throughout the duration of the Fellowship. 

Activities that energize Kevin include sea kayaking and canoeing, and skiing (telemark and skijoring). A place he’d like to visit is Glacier Bay, Alaska. 

Keepers of our Place: Community Environmental Monitoring Project

The Project
This community action project will include three distinct communities that neighbor each other in the southwest region of the city of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. They are: Connect Charter School, Tsuut’ina First Nation Band Middle School, Mount Royal University-Department of Education. A recent developing major transportation route (‘ring road’), which intersects the 3 communities, has created a myriad of complex social, geographical, environmental, economic, and cultural issues. The implications of such a development are not yet understood. These communities are open to reconsidering their place as close “true” neighbours and community partners, as they share a geographical space and have comparable goals given the close nature of Place-based Education PBE and Land-based Education LBE.

Project Goals (for the community members)

  • Connect to, and collaborate with, other community members around data related to snow/water bodies and weather [PBE/LBE Meetings and Field Studies and Data Collection]
  • Connect to community, social and cultural issues, and provide possible solutions to those issues [Research findings, academic paper/journal, videos, conference presentation]
  • Connect to the various observations and understandings of our “place” (PBE/LBE) as each community shares their understandings and ways of knowing. [Student Research Projects at the Student Research Symposium, community and academic presentations]

Project Objectives

  • The 3 community groups are positively impacted through a renewed partnership: participants benefit from the initiatives to establish meaningful relationships, and have a shared desire to act as “keepers of our place”.
  • That students/teachers continue to engage in PBE/LBE EE projects and incorporate meaningful and multi-disciplinary curriculum and pedagogy that has real-life meaning.
  • That all participants develop a heightened responsibility of place as it applies to their local communities. That these diverse group of schools share a common focus on their understanding of place, where instruction and learning are grounded in the values, norms, knowledge, beliefs, practices and language that are the foundation of our distinct cultures. This approach investigates culture, geographical features, resource issues, economic challenges, opportunities and community governance. Learners become engaged in activities that serve the community.