Grand Prize Winner
Kaitlin Beard, Avneet Singh, Olga Rossovska, Michael Carlucci, Jennifer Casale, Walter Garcia, Alessandra Silvestro
Registered Early Childhood Educators, Humber Child Development Centre
Support Staff, Aboriginal Resource Centre/Environmental Stewardship Coordinator, Humber Arboretum
Professor, Early Childhood Education, Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellness
Diana is a physical education and classroom teacher at Beaverlodge School in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She has a passion for nature and for helping others. She started her teaching career in 1980 and was fortunate to see David Suzuki speak at a division event. This experience stirred in her a passion to share environmental education with her students. Beaverlodge School is currently the first and only Earth 11 School in Canada with the SEEDS Green School program. This means her school has completed 11,000 environmental projects. Some examples of the projects include composting, planting new gardens, planting more trees, bio blitzes, Earth Day celebrations, tomato sphere, involvement in the Blue Dot movement, Indigenous perspectives, the Blanket exercise, Yellow Fish Road, place based education of our school yard and forest, building a beautiful outdoor classroom and daily eco projects.
Every year she has an Earth Council, which is a group of 30 students, who are the environmental ambassadors at her school and lead many of the whole school events. Earth Council has raised over 18,000 for their village in Kenya to help them to become more sustainable. In her classroom, she is grateful to have found the Natural Curiosity books, which have formed the basis of inquiry-based learning in her class. She tries whenever possible to teach outside in nature.
Her personal commitment to environmental education is at the heart of all she does. David Suzuki says we protect what we love and the way for children to learn to love nature is to spend time in it; to experience the wonder of it; to experience the connection we have to everything. Diana has shared this belief with students for 39 years. As she retires this year, her wish is that her students will continue to share this passion to protect nature.
Grand Prize Winner
Alicia Belvedere has been teaching for the Toronto District School Board since 2007. She believes that igniting environmental stewardship in students begins with providing opportunities to explore, get excited about and ultimately fall in love with nature. Her journey to live a happier and healthier life by deepening her connection to nature inspired Alicia to encourage her students to foster their own love of the earth. At High Park Alternative School, there is a community of amazing staff and parents that work together to create exciting learning experiences. Without the support of her community, Alicia would not be able to bring her class’s inquiries to the heights to which her students aim to take them. These projects include sewing a quilt that celebrates our natural resources, dedicating half a day each week to exploring Toronto’s biggest urban park, setting up a woodworking station in the classroom, growing food in and outside the classroom, surveying a number of Toronto parks for their data management unit, visiting conservation areas, and participating in an ecological restoration program. Alicia looks forward to continuing her own environmental education to better foster her students’ curiosity in our natural world.
Grand Prize Winner
Ellie Clin is an environmentally-inspired classroom educator at The Grove Community School in Toronto, the first public alternative elementary school with a commitment to teaching the curriculum through the lenses of social justice, community activism, and environmentalism.
Ellie and her students have learned through a variety of place-based and global environmental inquiries over the years. From partnering with organizations such as the StopGap Foundation or the Toronto Region Conservation Authority; to engaging in long-term artistic studies of the life in their school yard; to planting vegetables for community meals in the garden, they strive to learn more about and become stewards for the local environment. And, by investigating Antarctic wildlife through Ellie’s expedition as a Grosvenor Teacher Fellow; tagging and tracking monarch butterfly migration; and creating environmental short films for the Planet In Focus student film festival, they also engage in making connections with the wider global community.
Anne Corkery has taught grade 6/7 (French Immersion) with PVNCCDSB for four years now. She has always felt most at home in nature. She grew up playing games and building forts in the woodlot behind her house, and would spend hours in a nearby creek turning over rocks to find critters to look at. Today, much of her spare time is spent running the trails which surround her city.
Before becoming a teacher, she worked as an ecologist, studying the predicted impacts of climate change on migratory species in the sub-Arctic. This experience ignited within her a desire to connect with younger generations to instill within them a deep love for the natural word, as she believes this is our best chance at protecting it from the many threats it is currently facing. She has made environmental inquiry a priority in all of her classrooms up until this point, each year gaining momentum and inspiration for new projects with her students. These projects have resulted in the revitalization of recycling programs at her school, gardening projects, sustainable transportation initiatives, growing of traditional medicines in our classroom for our school’s medicine wheel garden, and most recently, the making of their very own urban maple syrup. These projects have all been a result of her students’ personal interests, the end products of which are largely determined by them.