2014 Jack Layton Award for Youth Action in Sustainability
The following seven schools have been recognized out of over 100 school action projects to receive the Learning for a Sustainable Future Jack Layton Award for Youth Action in Sustainability. Calderstone Middle School was awarded first place, two schools were recognized as Runner-Ups and four schools were given Honourable Mentions. Check out the fabulous projects these schools have done by reading the summaries below.
Thank you to everyone who participated! All of your projects were outstanding! We look forward to seeing your submissions next year!
Calderstone Middle School
The winning school this year was Calderstone Middle School from Brampton, Ontario. Their project featured an unique and fun method in responding to community challenges in regards to healthy, sustainable and local food choices. Congratulations!
Students at Calderstone Middle School met to participate in various discussions focusing on topics including the benefits of urban farming, the importance of healthy living and food industry careers. At-risk students and peer mentors from Leaders for the Environment, Agriculture…our Future (LEAF), a student-led club, planned and hosted a ‘Healthy Iron Chef’ competition, where students showcased their knowledge by preparing healthy recipes using locally-grown ingredients. Over 700 students and 40 teachers explored issues related to healthy and locally grown foods.
Hugh John MacDonald School
Hugh John MacDonald students from Winnipeg, Manitoba started up a Bike Shop that fixes bicycles that were no longer being used or were thrown out. Junior High students perform the majority of the work on the bikes, as their proficiency increase, they are able to assist community members with bike repairs. 21 bicycles were diverted from the landfill and are now regularly used by Junior High Students. In June, a girls biking group consisting of newcomers to Canada, will be going on rides with the refurbished bikes along with instructors. ‘Bike to School Day’ has been made a part of a combined Bike Week in Winnipeg and on June 20th Hugh John MacDonald students will be hosting pit-stops for Bike Week. Students will provide snacks and free bike repair services for those who participate.
Windermere Secondary School
Students from Windermere Secondary School from Vancouver, British Columbia worked to expand their knowledge and experience of gardening to students from Nootka Elementary School. Together, the students prepared a garden by planting seeds, watering and tackling weeds to kick-start their project. The garden has inspired teamwork and communication between the students, teachers and community members on the importance of gardening and benefits of organic and locally-grown foods. In conjunction with the school’s garden, a wooden compost bin was built to add nutrients to their garden soil. Between late June and early July, Windermere Secondary students are looking forward to harvesting and distributing their crops to their local community.
Bridgeport Public School
Bridgeport Public School students from Kitchener, Ontario have shown that you can start being sustainable at any age! Kindergarten students from Bridgeport have taken a creative approach in creating awareness of sustainability issues within their community, particularly at their local forest. During one of their weekly walks, the students noticed that the local ‘leash-free dog park’ within the forest was fundraising to plant trees on their field and decided to create blank note cards using photos taken during their excursion. These cards were then sold to classroom parents and the school community during their arts night. The Kindergarten class made a total of $400 and are expected to plant 10 large shade trees at the local dog park. The students are also looking forward to planting trees at Bechtel Park on June 18!
Métis Beach School
Grade 11 science students from Métis Beach School from Métis-Sur-Mer, Québec set up a large shelving unit with full-spectrum grow lights on a timer to grow their micro-greens. Their project goal was to increase the amount of fresh greens consumed by students by adding organically grown micro greens into their lunches from their school garden. Students would regularly grow, cut and wash the greens to be eaten at lunch or snack time. The students grew a large selection of greens including sunflower, peas and daikon. The students enjoyed harvesting their greens and enjoyed eating them every week. The class also designed a photo guide to grow the greens that is available for the local community to use.
Montgomery Village Public School
The students at Montgomery Village Public School from Orangeville, Ontario were surprised to discover that the soil is actually an actively living environment! As a classroom, the students collected and shredded food scraps using a Green Cycler and added them to their classroom vermicomposters. The vermicompost was then used to brew compost tea that was applied to their school field as a natural fertilizer. They hope that schools across Ontario will embrace vermicomposting in their classrooms and they recognize its effectiveness for waste reduction. The creator of the Green Cycler was so impressed with their project that an article was written and can be found via:
Royal Vale School
Royal Vale School students from Montréal, Québec, along with parents, teachers, and members of the community, have come together to form the RVS Garden Committee. About 360 students from JK to Grade 11 have contributed to this initiative. They have created a beautiful garden on school grounds, boasting over 40 species of native plants, which is being maintained by students of all ages. All plants began as seedlings which were planted indoors at first. This has given Royal Vale a deeper sense of community through the sharing of fresh, locally-grown foods, as well as an opportunity for the students to reconnect with the environment through hands-on work in the garden. These students no longer suffer from nature-deficit disorder! Through this project, they have also learned about the importance of eating local foods in order to reduce their carbon footprint. To celebrate the success of their garden project, Royal Vale held an inauguration party, where all seedlings were transplanted outside. To kick off their day, they participated in a workshop on gardening followed by a communal picnic. They are looking forward to continue this initiative next year, and to enjoying even more locally-grown foods.
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