AAEE recognizes its members for their significant efforts in the areas of environmental education and education for sustainability.

We recognise these efforts through the national environmental awards, including the annual Environmental Educator of the Year Award and the biennial Brian Foreman Scholarship and Fellowship of AAEE.

View the Award details and past recipients below.

AAEE Environmental Educator of The Year Award

Each Chapter is encouraged to nominate a member who has achieved significant outcomes within their groups’ work in support of Education for Sustainability.

2023 Recipient

Julie Armstrong is the recipient of the AAEE EE of the Year for 2023. Her on environmental education centers on the importance of bees for food security, biodiversity and healthy ecosystems is directly connected to both the 2nd and 15th SDG. Julie has initiated many significant changes in the ACT throughout Canberra.

For the aspect of 'Food Security' Julie worked with Cool Australia to develop the 'Love Food? Love Bees! year 9/10 Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture curriculum. This educates students on the impact of monoculture farming, on climate change and biodiversity loss, and how sustainable agriculture transforms farms into thriving landscapes that produce healthy food and support pollinators and increase biodiversity.  Students are encouraged to request their school canteen and families, support organic and regenerative farmers. This is real action for food security and climate.

Julie's work over the past 9 years has been successful in raising awareness of the connection between bees and food security. Julie has been a part of the submissions to the ACT Govt 'Nature in Our City' and Draft Variation 369 to Living Infrastructure in Residential Zones. Julie has also had input into the ACT Govt Food and Fiber Agricultural strategy through meetings with ACT Agriculture Minister Rebecca Vassarotti and policy staff. Her 2022 & 2023 World Bee Day address backs this important work.

The work to halt Biodiversity loss in Canberra and ACT region involved the following key initiatives.
• 2018- Met with Chris Steel, Minister for Transport, Canberra City Services to request the ACT Government adopt additions to the MIS 25 Urban planting list and stop the use of systemic pesticides- 95% reduction in systemic pesticides.
• Inclusion of citizen science surveys of insect pollinators as part of the ACT Government's Connecting Nature, Connecting People program 2023, which aims to improve ecological connectivity for native species across the urban landscape of Canberra.

EE of Year 2023 Submissions

Julie Armstrong, ACT

Sarah Jantos, NSW

Mandy Botterell, QLD

Maree Bakker, TAS

Sasha Koomen, VIC

Stephen Crane, WA

Past Recipients

2022: Lisa Siegel, NSW

2021: Bonnie Beal-Richardson, WA
2020: Ingrid Albion, TAS & Jenny Hill, NSW
2019: Lorna Pettifer, VIC
2018: Jenny Dibley, ACT
2017: Associate Professor Jo-Anne Ferreira QLD
2016: Allen Hill, TAS. & Noelene Rowntree QLD
2015: Jem Hansen, NSW
2014: Jane Ryan, VIC
2013: Vanessa Whelan, ACT
2012: Elaine Lewis, WA
2011: Cam Mackenzie, QLD
2010: Grahame Collier, NSW
2009: Jennifer Pearson, WA; Annie Beecroft, TAS
2008: Richard Smith, SA
2007: Frank Fisher, VIC

Brian Foreman Scholarship

The Brian Foreman Scholarship was created to assist a member of the association to travel and attend the biennial conference. Brian Foreman was a founding member of the Association in 1980 and his work in South Australia is legendary. This award is in recognition of Brian’s contribution to environmental education in general and to AAEE in particular. Read Brian’s Story.

Please contact if you have any questions.

Monty and Jordan’s shared the emerging findings from the first Country as Teacher project: working with 26 teachers in ACT directorate schools to enact a Country as Teacher pedagogy. The research from the project highlights that cultivating a 'Relating with Country Practice' is within reach of all educators. After cultivating their own experience, educators designed their units of work. From the research, these teachers felt an 'overall sense of permission' and the courage to do something different in their practice.

- Monty & Jordon Nixon

Past Recipients

2023: Monty & Jordon Nixon, ACT

2021: Diedre Knight & Naomi Findlay, SA

2018: Katherine Gaschk, WA & Angela Colliver, ACT
2016: Jorja McKinnon, VIC
2014: Janine Baker, SA
2012: Anne Pettit, WA
2010: Zarin Salter, WA
2008: Amy Krupa, WA

Fellowship of AAEE

After a brief interval, the Fellowship of AAEE was reinstated in 2012 to recognize a member who had made an outstanding contribution to environmental education at a national level over their career. This recognition is the awarded by the Executive Committee. Our past recipients are still very involved in the field of Education for Sustainability.

2023 Recipients

Dr Sue Elliott and Mr David Larritt 

At the AAEE 2023 Biennial Conference we recognized Dr Sue Elliott from New South Wales and Mr David Larritt from South Australia as AAEE Fellows.

Dr Sue Elliott is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education at the University of New England (UNE), Armidale, New South Wales. Sue is a long-term early childhood education for sustainability practitioner, advocate, researcher and author. She originally trained and worked as a preschool teacher in Victoria, then undertook master’s studies in science. Pivotal to Sue’s early work was her role as founding convenor of the professional network Environmental Education in Early Childhood (EEEC Vic Inc) in 1992 and today there are six networks established nationally.

She subsequently moved into varied roles with the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, Museum Victoria and Melbourne Zoo facilitating early years’ programs and then to the tertiary sector lecturing at several universities. Her doctorate on outdoor play spaces and sustainability won the Early Childhood Australia Doctoral Thesis Award in 2014. Along the way, she has received a number of life memberships including in 1993 from the Victorian Association for Environmental Education and in 2017 from Play Australia, thus recognising her ongoing commitment. Her work extends beyond Australia, as a co-convenor of both the TransNational Dialogues in Early Childhood Education for Sustainability research group and the European Early Childhood Research Association Sustainability SIG. She has also enjoyed research and consultancy roles in Bhutan and Papua New Guinea and her current visiting scholar position at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.

Sue has significantly contributed to the field through publications to promote early childhood education for sustainability, beginning in 1991 with Snails Live in Houses Too: Environmental Education in Early Childhood (Elliott & Emmett). More recently, she was lead editor for the text Researching early childhood education for sustainability: Challenging assumptions and orthodoxies (Elliott et al., 2020), and has co-authored Almost mainstream: Re-imagining early childhood education for Sustainable Futures (Elliott & Davis, 2023) and Early years learning in Australian natural environments (Hughes et al., 2021). Sue is a consulting editor for the International Journal of Early Childhood Environmental Education and a Field Report Editor for the journal, Children Youth and Environment. She has led various early childhood consultancy and research projects including the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage review of early childhood education for sustainability in NSW (Elliott et al., 2016).

She is pleased to accept this 2023 Fellowship of the Australian Association for Environmental Education recognising her three decades of advocacy and sincerely thanks the AAEE and many colleagues who have part of this journey.
Young children have the most to lose, they will experience more climate change events than you can imagine. Let’s build the strongest foundation possible in early childhood education … remember young children are capable thinkers, problem solvers and action takers.

Click here and you will be able to hear why she has valued her long association with AAEE.

Mr David Larritt

I thank the Association for this recognition.

I joined the Association in 1990 at the Adelaide conference, ‘Pathways to the Future’. Over the next 33 years I have consistently striven to be a voice and have taken action, for the environment. The importance that we need to place on environmental action that brings us to the grass roots of participating in the change that we want, passing this message on to others, enabling them to action change in their local place with skills and knowledge, this is what being a part of our Association has enabled me to do, and is the core of why we as an association exist.

I joined the State chapter as a committee member in 1991.

In 1992 the National Executive was based in Adelaide; Brian Foreman was the President, and I took on the role of National Treasurer.

I served in this position for the 2-year term of our executive and recommended an increase in our membership fees (1994 Cairns) to ensure out financial viability within our 2-year cycle of Conferences. It was passed and adopted.

During this time, I worked with John Smith on the National Professional Development Program, managing the Federal Funding, and developing national curriculum resources.

I then served on our State executive as a member for several years, and was elected as the State Convenor. Over the next 5 years I guided our Chapter and our professional development program with approximately 6 to 8 events a year.

I received funding from the Federal government for our Association to conduct a 3-conference series on the theme “Healthy Oceans - a delicate balance”. These were delivered in Adelaide, Port Mc Donald in the Southeast and Port Lincoln on our West coast.

In 1995, I was instrumental in the establishment of the Studies of Society and Environment Council representing our Association and still have that position today. Our association has presented several workshops at their annual conference every year.

I also represented our Association in the collaboration of many resources including:

‘Wilderness areas’, and ‘Arid Lands’’ resources for the Wilderness Society.

Participating in the development of the ‘Watercare’ Learning Materials.

Contributing to the school resource,’ In, About and for the Environment’.

Working with Forestry SA on their ‘Forestry Matters’ resources for schools.

I did have a short break from the Association during a time of having neck surgery (2 operations) and my mother passing and a marriage break up. Even at this time, I handmade 400 wooden name tags for the National Conference in Adelaide (because I hate the plastic ones) and it models what we are about.

I believe in promoting and sharing with others what we do, so that it may give them a way or means to take on, hands on experiences in their own place. To this end I have had an article published in our Journal for Environmental Education about a program that we, AAEE had a significant contribution to, called the ‘Kids Congress for Catchment Care’.