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Record numbers certified with EcoSchools

Eco Excellence
Posted on 06/19/2019

A growing number of WECDSB schools have joined an important movement to reduce their environmental footprint.

A total of 20 schools have been certified as Ontario EcoSchools, marking a 25 per cent increase over the number of schools to earn that designation from last year, with 11 of them being named gold status schools.

“This is a terrific way to acknowledge of all the hard work our students and staff members have done towards reducing their impact on our natural environment,” said Mike St. Pierre, a curriculum consultant who oversees the implementation of the EcoSchools program in WECDSB schools. “These people are very aware of the importance of environmental stewardship and taking meaningful steps in their schools to reduce waste, lower energy consumption, and improve their school grounds.”

EcoSchools is an award-winning environmental education and certification program for grades K-12 that nurtures environmental leaders, reduces the ecological impact of schools, and builds environmentally responsible school communities. The programs organizers work with 58 school boards to nurture student leadership and foster environmental learning and action in school communities. Certification is based on a provincial standard of excellence and reaches about a million students across Ontario.

Some examples of the many activities schools participate in include creating recycling teams, launching composting programs, holding lights-out lunches and tree plantings, sweater days when thermostats are slightly lowered, garbageless lunch days, and walk or ride your bike to school days, St. Pierre said.

“The EcoSchools program is an opportunity for students to be good stewards of the earth, and it cultivates leaders,” said Denise Masse, a teacher at St. William Catholic Elementary School, a school that earned gold status this year and where there are now 70 students involved in the EcoSchool Club. “The founding members of our team were deeply affected by what they learnt in class about habitat loss, shoreline erosion, pollution and climate change. They wanted to make a difference and thus the team was born.”

“One person can make a change beginning with one deed,” said Camryn Yoell, a student at St. William. “Our team has impacted students and families who are now trying to save the environment and make the world cleaner too. I can't believe what we've done and can’t wait to see what else we do!”

“EcoSchools continues to lay the foundation for building environmental leaders and bringing school communities together to reduce our collective impact on the earth,” said Lindsay Bunce, Executive Director of Ontario EcoSchools. “Through benchmarking, creativity, and innovation, our network of 1,900 certified EcoSchools is inspiring positive, meaningful action across all levels of the education sector. We are so proud to celebrate their accomplishments this year.”

 

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