This page belongs to: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science 2023

2023 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools

Mrs Judith Stutchbury

Kalkie State School’s Mrs Judith Stutchbury received the 2023 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools. 

Mrs Stuchbury educates students about the importance of marine conservation and how their actions will make a difference. 

Kalkie State School is only 8km from the Great Barrier Reef’s Mon Repos Beach. The beach has the greatest number of loggerhead sea turtles nesting in the South Pacific region. The beach is critical to the survival of the endangered species.

Her many initiatives include the ‘Science Together’ convention with 400 students, teachers and community members for National Science Week 2023.

She is also the author of the educational book, Hatch Saves the Reef, encouraging students to learn about marine turtles and the impact of climate change. The book adapts her screenplay, Hatch, following a young sea turtle facing obstacles like artificial light pollution, coral bleaching and plastic pollution.

Watch video highlights

Transcript

[Music plays and an image appears of a Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools medallion above text: Judith Stutchbury]

[Image changes to show Judith Stutchbury talking to the camera]

Judith Stutchbury: Science has always been around me. 

[Image changes to show a close view of Judith talking to the camera, and then the image changes to show Judith working with her students]

My father was a veterinary surgeon and my mother loved botany. 

[Images move through to show a close view of a student looking into a microscope, and then Judith working with the students]

Science has been a very big passion. 

[Image changes to show Judith talking to the camera, and a medallion and text appears: Judith Stutchbury]

I am Judith Stutchbury, I’m a teacher at Kalkie State School in Bundaberg in Queensland. 

[Images move through to show photos of the Kalkie State School, the entrance sign to the school, a ‘Reef Guardian School’ sign on the fence, Judith talking to the camera, and Judith teaching]

Kalkie State School is a small school of about 300 children, and we are very passionate about the environment. 

[Images move through to show students listening and Judith teaching, and then the image changes to show Judith talking to the camera]

I am a fulltime classroom teacher and I also manage the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Reef Guardian Program for our school. 

[Images move through to shows views of the Mon Repos Turtle Centre, Judith and students looking at a stuffed turtle, Judith talking to the camera, and Judith working with students]

The Reef Guardian Program encourages schools to become involved in marine science and environmental science. 

[Images move through to show a student measuring a turtle, students looking at the stuffed turtle, and then Judith talking to the camera]

Successful breeding of the loggerhead turtle is critical for their survival. 

[Images move through to show students looking at turtle displays in the centre, students watching a turtle video in the centre, Judith talking to the camera, and students interacting with displays]

Some of the issues that the children have been studying are artificial light which impacts the nesting and hatching turtles and plastic pollution and coral bleaching. 

[Images move through to show a close view of students looking at a turtle video on a device, Judith talking to the camera, and Judith and students looking at the Hatch Saves The Reef book]

They have been studying that, so much so that they inspired me to write a film script to try to communicate the issues for a wider audience and then we’ve converted that to a children’s chapter book. 

[Image changes to show close views of a child reading the book]

The book is called Hatch Saves the Reef

[Image changes to show medium and then close view of Judith talking to the camera, a view looking down on a pristine stretch of coastline, and Judith reading to the students]

It is to communicate to a wider audience that we all have a part to play in protecting the environment and the world’s oceans. 

[Images move through to show a close view of the book, Judith talking to the camera, an aerial view of a pristine stretch of coastline, and a rocky beach]

I often get photos from parents about their children collecting rubbish at the beach and that’s really beautiful. 

[Images move through to show students walking down to the beach, Judith talking to the camera, and Judith and students walking down to the beach]

There are many great Reef Guardian teachers in schools around Queensland. 

[Image changes to show Judith talking to the camera, and then the image changes to show Judith and the students walking along a rocky beach]

Often, you’re the only teacher in a school doing that sort of work. 

[Image changes to show Judith and the students walking along the beach]

It is lovely to connect with other teachers across the schools. 

[Images move through to show Judith talking to the camera, close view of a Hatch Saves the Reef poster, various turtle signs and toys in a classroom, and Judith talking to the camera]

Kalkie State School is leading the way for global collaboration with other schools across the world to share our student work and to showcase what we do.

[Images move through to show an aerial view of a beach, a ‘Protect the turtles’ sign, Judith and students walking along the beach, Judith talking to the camera, and Judith working with students]

I am extremely honoured and humbled to be a recipient for the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools. 

[Image changes to show Judith talking to the camera, Judith smiling at students as they walk past in a lunchroom, and Judith smiling at the camera]

It recognises one teacher in a small school in Bundaberg trying to make difference for our next generation. 

[Music plays and the image changes to show a Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools medallion on the left, the Australian Government Coat of Arms at the bottom right, and text on the right: 2023 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching In Primary Schools]