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Awarded for service to Education and Training
Born: 6 December 1951
Entered on roll: 2009
An environmental ethic permeates the way I teach and it affects how I relate to students, staff and parents…it is important that we develop a sense of place and learn to care for our surroundings.
(Nel Smit, 2007)
Nellie Suzanna Smit was born in Hobart in 1951 and began teaching in the 1970s. Nel has been a key driver in the formative years of environmental education in Tasmania. Since 1982, in her voluntary capacity as State Convenor of the Australian Association for Environmental Education, Nel has promoted the networking of Tasmanian teachers and professionals interested in environmental education. She has led teams of volunteers in expos, workshops and conferences.
Nel encourages children to participate and take action in developing sustainable environmental practices. An example of this can be found at Woodbridge School where Nel was a senior teacher and Landcare coordinator. Woodbridge was the first school in Tasmania to adopt a whole school sustainability program, winning the Tasmanian Award for Environmental Excellence in 2007.
Nel has been recognised locally, nationally and internationally for her work. She was invited to present papers at the UNESCO International Conference on Schoolgrounds, A Sense of Place, UK and the Landcare Links: Global Implications, Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa Conference. Nel has been adviser for two international publications regarding environmental education.
Locally, Nel has been a committee member and Secretary of the Taroona Environment Network and a founding member of the Taroona Neighbourhood Garden.
Nel Smit’s generous work has been recognised through numerous awards. Some of these include: a National Excellence in Teaching Award; a National Landcare Education Award; the United Nations World Environment Day National Education School Award; the Professor Harry Bloom Memorial Award for Environmental Excellence; and the Tasmanian Environment Minister’s Award for Excellence in Environmental Education. She was recently invited to be a member on the Premier’s Climate Change Action Council.