The 2021 Katia and Maurice Krafft Award is awarded to Annie Ockelford for her sustained, passionate, innovative, and diverse approach to geoscience outreach and engagement, particularly for underrepresented and hard-to-reach audiences.
Annie Ockelford has a record of sustained excellence in developing and delivering innovative and high-quality geoscience outreach to non-scientific audiences, especially underrepresented and hard-to-reach communities. She has developed a range of innovative communication approaches on geoscience topics, including geomorphology (rivers, volcanoes), meteorology, and water quality. She pioneered the innovative ‘Geography in a Box’ scheme, which is a selection of inexpensive equipment and classroom resources loaned to schools to support geoscience teachers and students. A particular focus was on reaching schools in disadvantaged areas where pupils have limited opportunity for field studies but were able to conduct experiments and observations within the school grounds using the resources box. Ockelford also coordinated activities for World Environment Day, including hosting 250+ children from the region on the university campus to learn about glaciers, palaeoenvironmental reconstruction using invertebrates, and cartography. Many of these activities have been aimed at schoolchildren to encourage aspirations to higher education, and she is skilled at pitching the learning outcomes at the right level for these children.
Ockelford has chaired the Outreach and Education Committee for the British Society for Geomorphology and designed and delivered activities related to promoting understanding of the geosciences that reached more than 120,000 people. She also developed links with educators to develop resources and deliver engagement events, including workshops for schoolchildren, teacher-training events, and developing interactive exhibits at science fairs. With funding from the American Geophysical Union, she was able to develop her interactive ‘Rivers of Plastic’ demonstration, which is an interactive miniature landscape river exhibit. By moving the sediment and water around within the box and changing the landscape, school children are able to see how rivers form and how microplastics are moved, stored, or delivered to the ocean.
Ockelford has delivered outreach activities in various roles, at university level and through learned societies, and she has a truly impressive record of developing innovative outreach schemas and for engaging pupils especially from non-traditional backgrounds. Ockelford is a most worthy recipient of the 2021 Katia and Maurice Krafft Award.