The newly released 2015 year-in-review report from Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow shows that this innovative program is making real headway when it comes to helping young people commit to reducing their ecological impact.
More than 3,000 grade 6 students across the Ontario took part in the program last year — and of those, some 76% succeeded in decreasing their personal environmental impact.
Managed by Toronto and Region Conservation through the Living City Foundation, Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow uses science-based programming, outdoor recreation and team-building activities to help students connect to nature and develop the skills to take environmental action in their homes, schools and communities.
In the course of 2015, the program engaged 121 grade 6 classes from 27 communities. Of the participating teachers, 95% reported that students increased their awareness of environmental issues — and 76% said that student participation in ecological initiatives increased as a result.
Over the past two years, some 14 Grade 6 classes from the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) have taken part in the Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow program. You can read all about it in the OSDSB Summer/Fall 2015 newsletter.
Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow, sponsored by the W. Garfield Weston Foundation, is all about developing the next generation of eco-leaders by engaging students in immersive, hands-on environmental education experiences. In 2014 alone, 2,867 students took part in the program.
This past spring OCDSB classes planted gardens around their schoolyards, thanks to support from the Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow Schoolyard Biodiversity Grant initiative.
During the 2015-2016 school year, another eight OCDSB Grade 6 classes will be taking part in the program.
Read all about it HERE.
We were delighted to come across this story about the Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow program in The Parkhill Gazette, a local newspaper in North Middlesex, Ontario.
It’s a great window onto our program, which gives city kids a chance to experience nature firsthand, and encourages them to step up and become community co-leaders.
An excerpt from the article:
“It reaches the kids who don’t necessarily respond to classroom learning,” says Heather Parnham, one of the teachers from PE McGibbon. She added that all of the students benefit, especially since they may not have had an outdoor experience otherwise. “For a lot of students, this is their first time camping.”
Another teacher, Tien Ngo agrees. “When the kids come back from this, they come back changed. The staff and facilities are amazing. They really understand the kids.”
The Elmbank Junior Middle Academy Children’s Garden was greatly enhanced with the support of our Schoolyard Biodiversity Grant.
In partnership with the PACT Urban Peace Program, “Grow to Learn”, the Elmbank Grade 6 students established an edible, native plant garden in the existing children’s’ outdoor classroom and garden.
The project incorporated plantings of currant, gooseberry, blueberry, and raspberry bushes.
The class designed and implemented a plan which included planting 28 native species such as bee balm and purple coneflower, and mulching for weed control and moisture retention.
The garden has served not only to increase biodiversity and attract pollinators, but has also beautified the entrance to the school, benefiting the entire school community.
Congratulations to Stewart Avenue for their amazing work in increasing biodiversity!
The class used the Schoolyard Biodiversity Grant to create a sensory garden with strawberries, onions and various herbs. The garden is meant to be touched, smelled, tasted, and felt.
The students also planted native wildflowers such as butterfly weed and milkweed to attract pollinators, and transplanted wild grasses along the kindergarten fence to help green the space and prevent litter from collecting.
Enhancing and improving their Serenity Garden was truly a team effort for this St. Lawrence Catholic Elementary School in Hamilton.
Grade 6 students and their teachers worked with the Garden Club to plan, plant and maintain a variety of native wildflowers and shrubs to increase biodiversity and attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
Support for this greening project came from a number of partners, including the Royal Botanical Gardens, which offered advice on plant selection, and the City of Hamilton, which provided in-kind donations of materials, as well as numerous local families.
Congratulations to the students at St. Lawrence for taking environmental action!