racerocks.com Wins Prestigious Educational Award

Originally published in the Pearson College Newsletter, THE LINK September 17, 2004. Link no.66. 

No one who knows Garry Fletcher — and that includes almost every graduate of Pearson College — can doubt his passion for the environment. No one who has followed the development of the racerocks.com website, connecting the world with the marine protected area just beyond Pearson College, will be surprised that it was singled out in July for an award of excellence from the Commonwealth of Learning. The award recognizes the immense contribution of the website to non-formal distance learning.

“It was an opportunity to share our good fortune with the wider educational community,” Garry has commented on the way he has beamed the rich ecosystems of Race Rocks outward electronically to museums, schools, and all individuals interested in a close look at marine life. From anywhere in the web world it is possible to watch the sealions bask and swim, to see the interaction of abundant species, and to see divers below the surface interacting with requests from children far away. “Through technology we can introduce visitors to marine ecology – without the real visits that would damage a sensitive site.”

The web site racerocks.com was chosen for the following reasons by the jury:

• it is fitting for a variety of clientele needs in non-formal education in the very important area of the environment

• it has adopted a sound learning and instructional design, and

• it uses a variety of media which can be integrated in a flexible manner according to individual learning needs and interests

Garry Fletcher retired from Pearson College this summer after some thirty years of teaching Biology and Environmental Systems. He has not, however, gone far: he lives just down the road, and continues to pass through the college on the way to Race Rocks, the marine area for which he has been instrumental in gaining protected status, and for whose website he has just been highly honoured.

The presentation was made by Sir John Daniel, President of COL, to Garry Fletcher of Pearson College in Dunedin, New Zealand at the annual awards ceremony to announce the 2004 recipients of the Excellence in Distance Education Awards (EDEA).


Eileen Dombrowski
September 17, 2004. Link no.66