All OCSB schools nurture a culture of caring for our environment. Students learn how they can make an environmental difference by participating in the EcoSchools Canada certification program.
Even minor changes such as turning the lights off, using both sides of a sheet of paper, shutting their computer down at the end of the school day, or drinking from reusable water bottles, help to reduce the environmental impact of their school on the local and global environment. When schools work together to be environmental leaders, they help build sustainable school communities.
We asked some of our Gold and Platinum level schools how they achieved certification in the school year 2020-2021. Here’s what they said:
Environmental learning is a natural fit
Educators at St. Isabel School (Gold level) realized that many of the requirements for certification were practices they regularly incorporated into their classrooms. Environmental literacy, outdoor learning, and sustainability initiatives connected naturally with the learning goals of the curriculum in each grade. Students quickly learned you could be an ecological ambassador at school, at home, and in their neighbourhood.
Empower student leaders
St. Michael Fitzroy School (Platinum level) harnessed the energy of a whole class when the grade 7/8 class took on the EcoSchools project. The students created video or slide presentations on various environmental topics and shared them with every class, allowing the whole school to participate. The 7/8 class placed reminders around the school about reducing electricity use, promoted litterless lunches, taught how homemade cooking reduces waste and hung anti-idling posters outside to educate parents on turning off their vehicles.
Virtual learning brings the lessons home
When students switched to virtual learning for part of the school year, educators viewed the new learning environment as an opportunity to reinforce environmental practices at home. While learning about energy and nonrenewable resources, the grade one class at St. Francis of Assisi School (Platinum level) demonstrated online how to save energy by turning off the tap while brushing their teeth. Classes at St. Anne School (Platinum level) shared new items they made by upcycling materials they found at home.
Collaboration is key
All schools agreed that collaboration is key to successful student environmental initiatives and achieving EcoSchools certification. Many schools participated in one Eco initiative (per grade level) to spread the workload and broaden the projects’ range. When schools were closed to in-person learning, staff watered the indoor and outdoor gardens. When they returned to school, their plants were thriving, showcasing the effectiveness of collaboration.
More than a decade of dedication to EcoSchools
OCSB schools have been actively involved with the EcoSchools program since 2008. The program provides students with opportunities for leadership, connections with classmates in different grades, and a way to learn about sustainability while having fun.
Thursday is National GOOS Paper Day!
GOOS Paper is one of the many initiatives promoted by the EcoSchools program, and it’s a great way to advocate for environmental sustainability. We invite you to join in a GOOS Paper Day challenge this week by drawing an animal in its habitat using GOOS paper. Learn more about EcoSchool’s Goos Paper.