St. Anne CES teacher wins national environmental education award

A picture of education award winner Anne Corkery with her classroom in the outdoors

June 24, 2020

St. Anne Catholic Elementary School teacher Anne Corkery has been named as a finalist for the FOCUS! Teachers Excellence in Environmental Education and Communication Teachers Leadership Award.

Awarded by the Kimberley Foundation, the award recognizes “excellence in environmental education, communication, and inspiration by Canada’s amazing teachers.”

Three prizes, given to a winner and two finalists, are awarded to teachers who have demonstrated excellence, innovation and leadership in reforming curriculum to encourage environment, climate justice and/or sustainable living learning; implementing climate change action projects that help shape students’ understanding about climate change and their potential roles in mitigating its effects; and/or, creating, sharing and demonstrating up-take of their innovative approaches to environmental, climate justice and/or sustainable teaching within their profession.

This year, Anne Corkery has three major environmental inquiry projects underway at St. Anne CES. Every Thursday (prior to school closures), her class spent its time in a nearby old-growth forest, covering curriculum-based content experientially, while also “developing environmental knowledge, traditional knowledge, outdoor survival, resilience, communication and problem-solving skills.”

Her class has also been working to reforest the St. Anne schoolyard to create a buffer zone to prevent springtime flooding.

“In the process, my students have taken the role of the planners, working closely with our funding partners and landscape architects to develop a space which will meet the needs of all human and non-human stakeholders,” Corkery said.

Anne has also taken on the role of Eco Schools lead with a focus on sustainable transportation and waste management.

As part of the award, St. Anne CES will receive $1,000 to be used to support professional development activities of teachers in the area of environmental education, sustainability or climate change, or for materials or equipment to support instruction in these areas.