2019 Jack Layton Award for Youth Action in Sustainability
The following five schools have been recognized to receive the 2019 Learning for a Sustainable Future Jack Layton Award for Youth Action in Sustainability. Marshview Middle School was awarded first place, two schools were recognized as Runner-Ups and two schools were given an Honourable Mention. Check out the amazing and innovative projects these schools have done by reading the summaries below. Thank you to everyone who participated. All of your projects were outstanding, and we look forward to seeing your submissions next year!
Marshview Middle School
The winning school this year is from Sackville, New Brunswick, who partnered with a Mount Allison University student through their Project Engage! program. Marshview’s project was focused on tackling the issue of single-use plastics. The student leaders in the school’s environment group, “The Mighty Earth Warriors,” started off by researching the use and impact of single-use plastics in their community. They surveyed local restaurants, visited their local waste management facility and educated themselves on sustainable alternatives. The students presented their findings to their school and community through a school-wide assembly and an Op-Ed article in the local newspaper. Then they took things further, presenting their ideas at a meeting with the Mayor and Town Council that was broadcast on local Cable TV and arranging a meeting with their school board. As a result, these Warriors not only implemented 3 stream recycling in their school, but they also convinced the school board to make all schools in the Sackville family of schools 3 stream recyclers! They also got many local restaurants to switch to alternative packaging and convinced town officials to commit to a complete revision of the Sustainable Sackville Plan. Congratulations on your incredible impact, Marshview Mighty Earth Warriors!
École King George Public School
After attending The LSF EcoLeague Youth Forum in Milton last fall, students from École King George Public School in Guelph, ON were inspired to create a similar experience for their entire school body, so they came up with their Eco Day Action Project! Student leaders from grades 4-8 researched sustainability topics and designed workshops to educate and engage their classmates. They then organized and led a full-day Eco Day, where classes in the school rotated through their workshops. They engaged almost 500 students in discussions and hands-on activities focused on a variety of topics such as the importance of pollinators, making wildflower seed bombs, how daily choices affect the cleanliness of water, the Cape Town Water Crisis, invasive species, pollution, energy conservation, waste management, and more!
Corner Brook Intermediate School
Students at Corner Brook Intermediate School in Corner Brook, NL envision a Canada where everyone does their part to reduce waste and protect the earth. The school is surrounded by wooded areas, green space and wildlife that are impacted by the waste generated in the community. The student leaders in the school’s Science Club decided to take action to protect the nature around them. Since their school did not have a recycling program, they decided to implement one in order to properly collect and sort paper and plastic from each classroom. Using the new recycling program as inspiration, the Science Club then helped develop climate change lessons in both English and French using virtual reality. They delivered the lessons to over 600 students in grades 7-9! The first lessons focused on protecting and restoring the ecosystems in their local community. The second phase of lessons is aimed at having students assess how small changes in their community, like correctly recycling, can have big impacts on the rest of the world.
Chris Hadfield Public School
Following their participation in the EcoLeague Youth Forum, students from Chris Hadfield’s Eco-Hawks club in Milton, ON felt that they became leaders. They took what they learned at the EcoLeague Youth Forum back to school to share with their peers and help them to become leaders and take action. The Eco-Hawks team came up with a variety of sustainability-focused initiatives that engaged their entire school body. These include a waste audit, a “blue crew” focused on sorting out recyclables, upcycling bags and tags, mini trash day, a coral reef inquiry project, a community clean-up day, a “Staff Eco Instructional” professional development day led by students, the creation of a fundraising club called “Charity Hawks” and more!
Vedder Elementary School
After learning about the history of their land from local Stó:lō First Nations, students in the Eco-Bear club at Vedder Elementary School in Chilliwack, BC wished for others to learn about the traditional plants used by local First Nations. With the guidance from Stó:lō community members, an outdoor learning area was constructed with a garden that’s growing 18 different traditional plants. Grade 3 students each chose a plant to study, learning its Halq’eméylem name, English name, scientific name, description, and how the plant was used by local Indigenous people. The Eco-Bear team also made interpretive signs for the garden, printed an informational booklet, shared green tips, and engaged several classes from Kindergarten to grade 5 in green initiatives such as recycling, composting and gardening.
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