In recognition of her tireless leadership to provide local residents with increased access to educational opportunities, while championing new and innovative programs and partnerships which contribute to the vibrancy of this valley, College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook will be honored by Emblem Academy during the Santa Clarita Environmental Education Consortium (SCEEC) Community Mixer and Garden Dedication Ceremony on Nov. 6.
The SCEEC is an initiative of College of the Canyons, which operates as a private-public partnership with a mission to promote environmental literacy in the Santa Clarita Valley.
It is dedicated to promoting sustainability awareness and practices both on campus and in the community by hosting events and activities that help teachers and learners of all ages become more involved with environmental issues.
As a founding member and current member of its advisory board, Dr. Van Hook has enthusiastically supported SCEEC programs and community outreach efforts, including the annual K-12 Environmental Science Fair, Environmental Writing Contest, and the Green UpEnvironmental Leadership Conference held at COC in October.
“We have an opportunity as educators to inspire the next generation of leaders and instill in them a love for the world around them, and the sense that it will be theirs to care for,” said Dr. Van Hook. “There’s no better way to do that than through hands-on activities that enable children to experience the joy and wonder inherent in gardening.”
In addition, Dr. Van Hook helped launch the SCEEC’s Western Bluebird Restoration Project — a partnership with eight local elementary schools in which students build and decorate sustainable homes for the dwindling Western Bluebird population — by awarding the organization a COC Foundation Chancellor's Grant.
Most recently, the SCEEEC awarded funds to Emblem Academy for the construction of 14 (two per grade level) portable ‘patio pickers’, which can be used in a variety of classroom applications.
After the gardens are planted and begin to grow, teachers can use the new plant life as an ongoing teaching tool by asking students to observe the growing cycle, conduct field research and record their observations.
In appreciation of these efforts, Emblem Academy principal Jon Baker will formally dedicate the set of gardens in Dr. Van Hook’s honor.
“Emblem Academy is very grateful for the Dr. Van Hook Patio Pickers donated by SCEEC,” said Baker. “ The 14 patio pickers will promote student engagement and hands-on learning through gardening, which also supports Emblem's focus on the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.”
The Santa Clarita Environmental Education Consortium (SCEEC) Community Mixer and Garden Dedication Ceremony will take place from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6, at Emblem Academy multipurpose room, located at 22635 Espuella Drive, in Santa Clarita.
The event is free and open to the public. Light snacks and beverages will be provided, with a variety of small door prizes also being raffled away and awarded to trivia game contestants.
In addition to attending the dedication ceremony, guests will also be able to learn more about the SCEEC and its various educational programs and community initiatives.
Local K-12 teachers can also explore the SCEEC’s classroom mini-grant program, which provides funding to local K-12 schools in order to help develop and implement more environmentally themed lessons and activities.
For more information about the Santa Clarita Environmental Education Consortium (SCEEC) or the upcoming Community Mixer and Garden Dedication Ceremony on Nov. 6, please visitwww.sceec.org  or call (661) 362-3188 .