Polly Knowlton Cockett
Address: 5423 Barrett Drive NW; Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2L 1W4
(The following text was provided by the candidate or campaign.)
Polly Knowlton Cockett, as a dedicated environmental educator, has been passionately involved in northwest Calgary place-making for over twenty years. Leading the way on community, school, and city- based collaborative stewardship, prairie reclamation, native biodiversity conservation, and interpretive signage, she has received numerous local and provincial awards including an Alberta Centennial Medal, a Volunteer Calgary Family Award, and an Award of Merit from the Alberta Teachers’ Association. Her ongoing leadership most recently earned her a 2014 Alberta Emerald Award for Environmental Excellence for Individual Commitment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBIWHnUDi3Q
Also in 2014, Knowlton Cockett received her PhD in Environmental Education. As well, she holds two degrees in geology and a second master’s degree in science education, has worked as a geologist, a K-12 teacher with the Calgary Board of Education, and as an academic strategist for university students with disabilities. At present she is working as an instructor at the University of Calgary in the teacher education program, specializing in integrating curricula and community, and continuing her research in place-based pedagogy and urban environmental education.
While Project Manager for the award winning Centennial Natureground in northwest Calgary and its follow-on project, Whispering Signs, Polly became so moved by the depth of commitment of the people involved that she enrolled in a PhD program at the University of Calgary. That work culminated in her thesis on “Sense of Place” in which she shares profound stories of neighbours coming together to care for their local environment, and in so doing becoming more ecologically minded.
Her commitment to promoting environmental education in Calgary schools has been outstanding. For example, as a Chair of the Environment Committee at Dr. Coffin School, and as Project Manager of the school’s ongoing outdoor environmental projects, she guided K-6 students in their SEEDS Green School activities leading to Calgary’s first Earth II School Award for Environmental Excellence for 2000 projects.
As a parent of three children (all now in their twenties) who attended Calgary’s public schools, Knowlton Cockett has been deeply involved with education at all levels. As well as the aforementioned K-6 initiatives, she has served on the boards of cooperative preschools and playgroups, co-founded the Environmental Action Club at the local junior high school and promoted that school’s early participation as a Green School. As an engaged community member, she has taken students to environmental conferences and eco- fairs, led the local high school’s Earth Club students in biodiversity conservation activities, and every summer she runs Biodiversity Bees for youth and adults.
Polly co-founded the Unitarian Church's Green Sanctuary committee, and co-led the children and youth program to become the first church school in Canada to receive a Green School Award.
As an accomplished writer and speaker, Dr. Knowlton Cockett has frequently presented at workshops and conferences, locally, nationally, and internationally, and has served in key leadership roles on Boards of Directors for numerous organizations. Polly has coached and played soccer for decades, and still plays in a variety of “Classics” leagues; she has lived in five countries, and hiked in many more. Every April around Earth Day, you can find Polly and her husband, University of Calgary Professor Robin Cockett, climbing the Calgary Tower and raising funds to support the Alberta Wilderness Association’s ongoing efforts to sustainably protect the precious heritage of our glorious province’s wild spaces and species.
Knowlton Cockett’s passion for encouraging community, curricular, and collaborative engagements in environmental education has naturally drawn her to Green Party of Alberta politics; she first ran as a GPA candidate in the 2014 Calgary-Foothills By-Election. For her, it’s a new way to increase public understanding of how Albertans can move together toward a better future.