• The Classroom Energy Diet Challenge has been recognized with an Alberta Emerald Award for excellence in environmental education. (Photo: Deborah Lumley)

The Classroom Energy Diet Challenge, Canadian Geographic Education's flagship energy literacy program, has been recognized for excellence in environmental education by the Alberta Emerald Foundation.

The program, which just wrapped up its fifth successful year, received the 2016 Emerald Award for Public Education and Outreach. Dr. Lynn Moorman, a Fellow and Governor of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, accepted the award on behalf of Can Geo Education at the awards gala in Calgary June 8.

Developed by Can Geo Education and sponsored by Shell Canada, the CEDC is comprised of 25 challenges aimed at engaging students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 in environmental stewardship. Activities include calculating students' carbon footprints, brainstorming ways to make schools more energy efficient, and creating artwork out of recyclable materials such as bottles, boxes and cans.

Close to 1,300 classrooms participated in this year's CEDC. Based on statistics tracked by each class, students saved some 375 kilograms of waste from entering landfills and logged more than 2,000 classroom hours using no electricity.

Sara Black, education program coordinator with Can Geo Education, said students and teachers have consistently gone above and beyond in completing the challenge activities.

"For the past five years, we've seen classrooms working hard to educate their peers, schools and communities on how to conserve energy. Winning this award recognizes their hard work and commitment to creating a more sustainable future," Black said.

Now in their 25th year, the Alberta Emerald Awards encourage and celebrate innovation and creative thinking in environmental education. View the full list of winners here.