2017 Jack Layton Award for Youth Action in Sustainability
The 2017 Learning for a Sustainable Future Jack Layton Award for Youth Action in Sustainability is a special celebration of what makes Canada great: future generations of young people working together to make our country a better, more sustainable place. This year, for Canada 150, we have chosen 1 winner, 2 runners-up, and 3 Honourable Mentions out of over 30 schools.
But that's not all - in addition to recognizing the outstanding actions of these 6 groups, we will be highlighting one amazing, student-led sustainability Action Project per week until the end of 2017! Stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter to help us in congratulating Canadian youth on their incredible work.
Rossland Summit School
The winning school this year is Rossland Summit School from Rossland, BC. Grade 1 and 2 students spend 1 afternoon per week exploring and observing their local Jubilee Wetland. The students started noticing changes in the ecosystem such as algae blooms and pollution and, after learning that their wetland could affect the Columbia River and even the ocean, they decided to take action! The class applied for EcoLeagueTM funding, a project of Learning for a Sustainable Future, and partnered with the nearby high school to build a shed for their new wetland observation tools such as nets, magnifying glasses, and more. They then began to raise awareness about watershed pollution in their community by painting yellow fish on storm drains and distributing information to local residents. Finally, they organized their First Annual Bio Blitz in May which hosted 455 students from 3 different schools working to identify local flora and fauna using identification cards. Congratulations on your incredible Action Project!
Jack Chambers Public School
The students of Jack Chambers Public School in London, ON used the slogan "Only Rain Down the Drain" to educate the school community about the stormwater management pond in their school backyard.
The Grade 8 students at Jack Chambers taught the importance of the pond to every class in the school, and they led an activity where every student and staff member decorated a wooden amphibian or reptile. Over 800 amphibians and reptiles were hung on the front school fence as public art, along with a sign to remind the community about the pond's relationship to the environment. The "Only Rain Down the Drain" slogan was also stencilled on storm drains on the neighbourhood roads and information cards were placed on door knobs. The students collaborated with the City of London to design new signs for storm water ponds across the City, and participated in the Adopt-a-Park program. The students created a documentary that won Best Project at the Water Docs@School Action Projects and will be used by the School and the City to promote the health of the pond. Awesome work, Jack Chambers Public School!
Herb Campbell Public School
As one of 15 schools in Peel District School Board participating in the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) Strategic Plan, the students of Herb Campbell Public School in Caledon, ON wanted to increase intercultural understanding and mutual respect for FNMI traditions by connecting with Indigenous educators. Their action plan included creating professional development workshops for their staff, curriculum integrated learning for students and creating a Medicine Wheel Garden Outdoor Classroom. Their ambitious landscape plan for the garden included several Indigenous plants surrounded by stone seating, a wildlife observation/inquiry area with feeders, and pathways to the natural forests and wetlands in the surrounding area. The project has engaged all staff and students, family members, Indigenous educators and elders in the community as they join them in planting and maintaining the garden. Through creating continuing learning opportunities and creating the medicine wheel garden, the Action Project has brought the community together in celebrating Indigenous traditions and perspectives. Incredible work, Herb Campbell Public School!
Fort McMurray Islamic School
The students at Fort McMurray Islamic School in Fort McMurrary, AB were concerned about the amount of waste generated from the use of white board markers. They determined that starting a Reusable Marker Program at their school would greatly decrease waste, and would save money for the school in the long run. The students applied for LSF EcoLeagueTM funding to research and purchase their first round of reusable markers and cartridges. The students educated their peers about the importance of the initiative and taught their teachers how to use the refillable cartridges for the markers. Amazing work, Fort McMurrary Islamic School!
Anderson Collegiate Vocational Institute
The students of Anderson Collegiate Vocational Institute in Whitby, ON wanted to raise awareness and promote action for the protection of our native pollinators. Their student-led action team was motivated to revitalize the unused and infertile courtyard at their school, complete with 100% pesticide-free native plants and bee boxes created by the grade 9 students. An awareness week, titled "To Bee or Not To Bee", was hosted to engage the school community through a variety of social and educational events. These activities included a pollinator-themed spelling bee, butterfly milkweed planting for students to take into their own gardens, a game of JeopardBEE, and a "bee-ball" tournament. Their efforts culminated in Anderson CVI being named Canada's first official "Bee High School" - excellent work, Anderson students!
St. Mary's Academy
The students at St. Mary's Academy in Winnipeg, MB were determined to reduce the amount of waste produced by their school by kick-starting the use of compostable plates in their cafeteria. By conducting a school-wide survey, the students determined that their peers and teachers would support the use of the plates, and would be willing to pay a small additional fee for the lunches. Through communicating and coordinating with the cafeteria staff, the students purchased the plates and helped the staff implement the initiative. They successfully convinced the independently-run cafeteria to continue using the new plates in the coming years, and they ran several waste awareness activities such as a waste-free lunch day and a brainstorming bulletin outside of the cafeteria. Great work, St. Mary's Academy!
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