Our approach to environmental stewardship
The Ottawa Catholic School Board is a leader in environmental stewardship. We have many initiatives in place aimed to help and protect the environment and conserve our natural resources. These successful initiatives help our students develop awareness and appreciation for our Earth.
Environmental Stewardship Committee
Our Environmental Stewardship Committee includes principals, teachers and representatives from our many departments who aim to turn environmental concerns into action. They build resources, form partnerships and challenge schools and their communities to get involved in preserving our planet. Each school also has its own Environmental Stewardship Committee which works through school-specific issues while promoting action, awareness and responsibility.
Since 2011 the Environmental Stewardship Committee has supported a series of Student Eco-conferences, run by high school students. Each year, four or five high schools are the host sites for four to six students from each of the area elementary schools. The purpose of each conference is to further engage the members of each participating school’s environment club. Students meet like-minded students from other schools and share tips and ideas.
Taking part in environmental programs
The OCSB has reduced its energy use by 33% since the 2003-2004 school year through many energy-saving programs. We have also significantly reduced waste.
- All of our schools have blue box and black box recycling collection.
- Most of our schools participate in the City of Ottawa’s Green Bins in Schools (GBIS) program, which helps organic waste stay out of landfills.
- We have a partnership with Raw Materials Company Inc., which helps manage our battery recycling program.
Many of our schools have taken part in the Ontario EcoSchools certification program since 2009. This program recognizes schools for their environmental initiatives and uses a special teaching model that helps students become environmentally responsible citizens. Some schools have undertaken their own unique eco-initiatives in working toward their EcoSchools certifications.
Making a difference in and around our schools
Many of our schools have water bottle refill stations, lowering the need for disposable plastic water bottles. All staff are encouraged to print double-sided, recycle documents whenever they can and turn off all lights, computers, and heating or air conditioning when these aren’t needed. We educate all principals and head custodians in energy-saving best practices and give them tips and guidelines to display around the school.
The OCSB makes sure that our schools have green grounds for our students to play and learn in. Many of our schools have partnered with the Evergreen foundation to expand and enhance the green spaces in their schoolyards.
Using environmentally-friendly products
We are using many environmentally-friendly products at the OCSB, such as:
- 25 watt light bulbs instead of 36 watt bulbs,
- real dishes and cutlery at the Board head office cafeteria,
- green-certified cleaning products
These products help us reduce use of energy, materials and chemicals in our facilities.
Certifying our schools
Over 50 of our OCSB schools have been certified as Ontario EcoSchools. This program recognizes schools across the province for their achievement in environmental education and action. Read more about our EcoSchools to learn about some of the fantastic environmental initiatives undertaken by our schools.