The Ottawa Catholic School Board is proud to celebrate the achievement of 50 Ottawa Catholic schools in becoming EcoSchools! To become certified, a school must demonstrate achievement in at least four key areas: energy conservation, waste minimization, ecological literacy and school ground greening for shade and energy conservation.
To begin, students along with other members of the school community form an EcoTeam. The EcoTeam reviews the energy and waste practices of the school, creates and implements an action plan for improvement, and then reassesses the energy and waste practices again near the end of the school year. Teachers help students develop ecological literacy through the curriculum. School ground greening projects may be undertaken that focus on providing shade for students and the school building.
EcoSchools certification recognizes a school for its environmental initiatives, awarding the school bronze, silver or gold EcoSchool status depending on how fully the school has met the requirements of the program. EcoSchools use an innovative teaching model that helps students develop ecological literacy while engaged in practices to become environmentally responsible citizens. The certification process is designed to be achievable by beginners, while allowing experienced schools to take the program to its limits. Ontario EcoSchools was created by a consortium of education stakeholders to address environmental issues in the formal education system. The Ontario EcoSchools program is free-of-charge, supported by the Ministries of Education and Environment.
Resources may be downloaded from www.ontarioecoschools.org >>
Four (4) Ottawa Catholic high schools hosted Student EcoConferences in 2011 to share environmental ideas with area schools: Notre Dame; Mother Teresa; St. Mark; and Sacred Heart high schools. The high school students at these host schools used a number of creative methods to build enthusiasm and excitement for the environment in the visiting students from our elementary schools. The younger students who attended were eager participants, and shared many of their own best practices with their hosts. Special thanks go to the four high school teachers and their students, the accompanying teachers and supervisors, and funding from the Ottawa Catholic Environmental Stewardship Committee for helping to make this event happen.
Ms. Nancy-Anne Giroux's grade 10 science and Specialist High Skills Major Environment program class at St. Mark's High School invited Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, Divine Infant, and St. Jerome elementary schools to the the south end of Ottawa to partake in various activities and share best practices. Students participated in a windmill building competition, a greenhouse tour, conducted pond water analysis, and watched a slideshow of various field trips taken by the grade 10 St. Mark's class.
Become an EcoSchool!
Ontario EcoSchools offers many resources to schools at different stages of developing their ecological literacy and environmental practices. All resources are free and focus on student engagement. EcoSchools' Guide to Certification is an essential resource providing an overview of all the elements of EcoSchools, breaking up each pillar into the actions that make a difference in creating an eco-culture within each school. It also contains important information for the certification process such as certification criteria and tips for success. Even if schools are not going to become EcoSchool certified, this document is a great resource for organizing environmental initiatives within your school.