Jim Martin, Inside Education Founder, In Memoriam

Jim Martin, Inside Education Founder, In Memoriam


It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our friend, mentor and founder Jim Martin.

Jim passed away Friday, July 22 after a painfully sudden, but mercifully brief battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife, and our friend and colleague Karin Hedetniemi. He is additionally survived by all of us who were touched by his vision, dedication and commitment to education about our environment and how humans interact in and with the natural world.

Words cannot express how much Jim Martin meant to not only a generation of students and teachers across Alberta, Canada and around the world, but also to a generation of environmental educators – those of us who learned so much just from being around him. Words also cannot express how much we will miss him.

Jim Martin taught us that the environment and economy were not competing values, rather they were interrelated – so much so that he also founded another education not-for-profit, the Centre for Environment-Economy Learning. He was the visionary whose first climate change education program was a FEESA teacher professional development program in 1992. His unfailing belief in teachers and students not only to understand difficult, complex topics, but in their ability to act on this understanding remains the cornerstone of all we do at Inside Education.

In the coming days, Inside Education and our extended family will be announcing a legacy project honouring Jim, the educator and the leader whose vision we are proud to work towards every day.

In the meantime, to honour Jim’s memory, we humbly ask you take a child outside and show him or her something in the environment they’ve not seen before. Help instill in them the wonder and passion for our special places, our diverse species and the natural world from which Jim took inspiration every day.

Steve McIsaac
Executive Director, Inside Education
Jim Martin’s Friend

Donations to the Jim Martin Legacy Project


  • Bruce Wilson says:

    Still fondly remembering all the amazing learning opportunities I personally shared with and through Jim’s tutelage. As a newly young teacher he introduced us all to Environmental Education topics which carried me for four decades of Elementary Education. And not to mention having the unique title bestowed of Institute Man with frequent attendance in the 90’s encouraged and mentored by Jim. He simply was everywhere there was a bias balanced natural resource topic or issue to be dealt with. We owe him much and will miss him even more, and I applaud efforts to recognize his contributions and initiatives to live on in the future. Goodbye old friend. -until we meet again!

  • Gary Smith says:

    Jim’s achievements were terrific- helping industry and educators alike value the importance of good environmental stewardship. The teacher tours were magnificent learning venues for all. Inside Education is a great legacy to his efforts. Steve and group- Keep up the great work. Regrets to his family- they should be aware that he was appreciated and left his green educational environmental footprint on many. Gary Smith ANC

  • Natalia Holden Riley says:

    Rigorous yet kind. A strong gentle soul has left this world. I remember walking outside work with him one lunch hour, as he bent to pick up a piece of litter from the curb on a busy downtown street. He was doing a tiny thing, yet was undoubtedly and subtly teaching us we all have to do something. Even the smallest of things can add up and ripple out into the world. It rippled out to me and I promise to remember Jim…
    He was generous to a fault with his staff and he will be missed in my heart.
    Deepest condolences, most especially to Karin and also to Steve. Peace and love, always.

  • Donna McCullough says:

    Jim Martin was a kind and generous man with a passion for teachers and environmental education. His vision for FEESA and Inside Education and his tireless work to achieve its goals were inspirational. Not only did he give generously of his time and talents, he cared deeply for his friends, family and every educator he worked with and mentored. As a Senior Fellow, I am proud to call Jim Martin one of my heroes. It has been my honour to work and play at Institutes, to participate in many special projects and to attend Jim’s retirement party. He opened doors, created avenues for dialogue and enabled many of us to ask good questions and think outside the box. If I succeed in passing this sense of passion, wonder and questioning on to my students, I feel I will have honoured Jim’s legacy. Go in peace my friend.

Leave a Reply