Kalkie State School teacher Judith Stutchbury has been awarded the 2023 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools for her dedication to teaching the next generation about the local environment.
The 2023 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools recognised Judith for creating meaningful experiences for her students to learn about endangered species in the Great Barrier Reef, which empowered them to find out how their actions could make a difference to the environment.
Judith’s classroom is located only eight kilometres from Mon Repos Beach, the area which has the greatest number of nesting, endangered loggerhead sea turtles in the South Pacific region.
Living and working close to Mon Repos has allowed Judith to educate her students about the importance of turtle conservation and how the beach is critical to their survival.
“Our students in Bundaberg live on a global science treasure,” Judith said.
“Kalkie State School is leading the way for global collaboration with other schools across the world.
“We are very excited to be creating connections with other schools that are also passionate about protecting the environment and the world's oceans.
“When parents tell you that you're making a difference to children's lives, and I see it in their attitudes and what they do, it's both very humbling and exciting as a teacher.”
Kalkie State School Principal Malinda Findlay nominated Judith for the prize and she said Judith's work had more than just a local impact.
“Mrs Stutchbury has instigated regional and international programs to educate, share and promote science activities across the globe, won regional and state finalist education awards for her science teaching, and instilled a love of science and engagement for students,” Malinda said.
“Mrs Stutchbury is inclusive in her teaching, introducing Indigenous and international language greetings and words, and stories and understandings, including student presentations to the Mayor of Bundaberg.”
Bundaberg Regional Council Mayor Jack Dempsey said “I am incredibly proud to congratulate Judi on receiving the 2023 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools.
“This award is a testament to Judi’s dedication and impact she has had on the young people in the Bundaberg Region community.
“It is teachers like Judi who inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and innovators.
“The Bundaberg Region is truly fortunate to have an educator like Judi in our community nurturing the talents and interests of our young scientists.”
Judith has had many highlights throughout her career including founding the National Science Week regional student convention ‘Science Together’, supported by Bundaberg Regional Council’s Milbi Festival and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
Held this year, the convention had 400 students, teachers and community members participate celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Reef Guardian program.
Judith is also the author of the educational book, Hatch Saves the Reef, which is inclusive of diverse backgrounds and encourages students to learn about climate change.
Judith said she was extremely honoured and humbled to be the recipient of the Prime Minister's Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools.
“People don't often see what's happening in the classroom,” she said.
“This is a lovely recognition for all the amazing work that teachers do in the classroom for science.”