Mr Linnell was announced 2020 Climate Leader of the Year after winning the community category at the Premier’s Climate Change Council awards on February 22.
The Mt Gambier college sustainability educator was awarded a $10,000 prize as the overall winner for empowering his students to deliver innovative emissions reduction projects linked to learning outcomes.
Tenison Woods College has set targets to be to be off grid by 2030 and zero waste by 2025, thanks to the work of Mr Linnell, his students and the school board. A number of projects have been initiated to achieve these targets, including an industrial green waste composter, an e-waste reuse market and a student managed plastic recycling enterprise.
Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said Mr Linnell was a great example of how an individual could lead by example and create positive change in our communities.
“Mr Linnell’s achievement in combining practical action and education to tackle climate change and prepare students for the jobs of the future is inspiring,” Minister Speirs said.
“A number of the projects being delivered are a first for an Australian school, and to align them with the curriculum and with TAFE certificates is a clever way to prepare students for future careers.
“We know that tackling climate change is a win-win for our economy and environment, and this work, along with the other projects presented at the awards, really demonstrates this.”
Since his appointment six years ago, the college has had a strong focus on ecology and sustainability with the support of principal David Mezinec.Tenison Woods has been named pilot school for sustainability for the other 103 Catholic schools across the State.
Mr Linnell was also recognised for his efforts in traveling across the globe to explore best practices and innovations in sustainability related education, studying widely at both Harvard University and the University of Tasmania, and driving change in the regional community.
He said he was surprised and excited to be named overall winner. He entered the awards after receiving encouragement from people in the Limestone Coast community.
“I am committed to not only engaging young people with a sustainable future but also enabling change makers of tomorrow,” he said.
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