Moreton Bay Environmental Education Centre
Brisbane students are working with top Australian scientists, they are publishing books and doing signings and readings, and they are spending more time on Moreton Bay learning about marine life and history under an inspirational Principal who has won a state teaching award.
Moreton Bay Environmental Education Centre (MBEEC) Principal Dianne Aylward has transformed what is being taught at the centre, creating a spike in the number of schools and students using its programs.
Her exceptional leadership, and her contribution to state education over the past three decades, are just some of the reasons she is a winner of this year’s Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) Excellent Leadership in Teaching and Learning Award.
Dianne has played a key role in designing and rolling out statewide programs including Smart Moves, the Earth Smart Science Schools Program and the Alcohol and Other Drugs Education Program, and has spoken at national and international conferences.
Dianne has invested in MBEEC staff and introduced exciting new programs which align with the Australian Curriculum, including the Young Writers’ workshop and STEM Horizons for High Achievers, which was a finalist for a 2017 Showcase Award for Excellence in Schools.
“When I started at MBEEC I really insisted that we had to get scientists there or young PhD students,” Dianne said.
“Along with Tim Roe, MBEECs experienced senior science teacher and Peter Doherty Award recipient, students have worked with Dr Matthew Dunbabin, who invented the crown-of–thorns starfish robot (COTSbot), Professor Ian Tibbetts, Director of UQ’s Centre for Marine Science, Julian Uribe-Palomino from CSIRO, who is a leading plankton expert, the CSIRO’s Mibu Fischer, a marine ecologist researching sustainable marine resources and Sheridan Rabbitt, a UQ PhD candidate examining the management of subsistence based fisheries. These incredible scientists freely give up their time and we are so, so lucky.”
Dianne has also reconnected MBEEC with Newstead House and introduced the popular Young Writer’s program, which enables pupils to publish books about the Bay after spending half a day with Australian children’s author Samantha Wheeler at MBEEC.
“We then take students out on Moreton Bay for half a day, which is about connecting with their senses, so that students can use better verbs and better adjectives. Students spend another half day at the centre developing their stories before completing their stories at school. The stories are then forwarded to us for final edits” Dianne said.
“We work with Lilly publishing to have the stories published and then invite parents and the school community to a celebratory event where students are presented with a published book containing the collection of stories. The young authors take part in book signings and readings, keeping the experience authentic.”
Congratulations Dianne on winning the 2017 QCT Excellent Leadership in Teaching and Learning Award.