It’s with sadness that report that Geoffrey Hopkinson died recently, age 94.
Geoff was appointed as Adviser for Environmental Education in Staffordshire in 1969 at a time when environmental education was not only emerging from its rural studies background across England, but also becoming established internationally. NAEE was created in 1971 out of the National Rural and Environmental Studies Association. Geoff was the key driver of the Environmental Education Advisers Association which did so much to advance the study of environmental issues in schools and colleges. He was of a generation that included such people as Sean Carson, Paul Topham and Philip Neal.
Derek Golland, who was Senior Adviser for Environmental Education in Staffordshire and closely involved in the development of Eco-Schools, and held senior office in NAEE for a number of years, writes:
“The Staffordshire Association was one of the largest such local groups affiliated to NAEE. As such we regularly held meetings that would attract audiences in excess of 100 teachers. We also ran NAEE Publications from my office. Geoff had been very active in establishing Environmental Science at A-level and actually took the trouble of visiting all universities to ensure the subject was appropriately recognised. Whilst environmental education was his day job, beekeeping was his hobby and he was an active author, trainer and visiting lecturer.”
NAEE Executive Director, Nina hatch, writes:
“As Staffordshire local authority Environmental Education adviser, Geoff was still in post in 1988 when I was appointed by Birmingham Education Department to run Chapmans Hill School Farm. This had been set up in 1972 by the then Director of Education with Paul Cadbury. Paul Topham as Birmingham Environmental Education adviser was instrumental in that as well, and helped me until his retirement. Thinking back I’m sure I had contact with Geoff in relation to the educational/farming aspects of my job. A dedicated and long-standing member of NAEE, Sue Fenoughty, would also have worked with Geoff on NAEE matters when she was Birmingham’s Environmental Education Advisory Teacher.”
10 years after his retirement from Staffordshire, Geoff was awarded the newly reconstituted British Empire Medal for services to Beekeeping and Environmental Education, as the BBC recorded in 2012.