Ontario EcoSchools is an environmental education and certification program for grades K-12 that helps school communities develop both ecological knowledge and environmental practices in order to become environmentally responsible and to reduce the environmental footprint of our schools.
We have a very active EcoTeam that meets once a week at lunch and is made up of about 40 students from Grades 1 to 6. Team members plan and run various eco-initiatives and educate their peers on various topics and ways to help the environment.
We strive to integrate ecological literacy in every classroom throughout the year. Our active parent community helps to maintain the vegetable garden and our beautiful Learning Garden made up of native plant species.
Follow the EcoTeam on Twitter
Here Are A Few Of The Projects That The EcoTeam Has Been Working On:
We’re happy to announce that we successfully applied for a water bottle refill station, which was installed at the end of the 2016/2017 school year in the basement beside the girls washroom. We were competing with bids from across the board and received the station (worth over $2000) for free based on the strength of our application.
Last year we applied for additional bike racks outside the building. We recently found out that we’ve been awarded two new bike racks, valued at $2000. They will be installed some time in the late winter, early spring. This is part of our year’s focus on bike culture in the school. We’re hoping to get more students biking to school when the weather is nice again. Look out for our bike events and campaigns in the spring!
On Thursdays, EcoTeam members head to the lunch room to check for litterless lunches. A litterless lunch is one that does not include materials that go into the garbage or recycling (milk cartons are the exception). For example, a litterless lunch contains reusable lunch containers and bag, reusable drink containers, reusable cutlery, and compost items. Students who have a litterless lunch are congratulated with a sticker.
We’re continuing the classroom monitoring program, by checking that lights are off, garbage and recycling are in their proper place and the blinds are up. Room 22 continues to empty the classroom recycling bins on a weekly basis.
We have announcements every morning about energy use in the classroom.
We’re continuing to recycle dry markers, caps, pens and mechanical pencils.
In October, a small team of EcoTeam members did a thorough clean-up of the Learning Garden. We picked up 3 grocery bags worth of litter and cleaned the garden beds. We are hoping to paint a new sign this year. If any parent would like to help with this, they are welcome to get in touch with Mme. Barbier.
EcoTeam members are often active at Pizza Lunch helping students to sort plates, juice boxes, straws and leftovers into the appropriate bins. They also help empty juice boxes of leftover juice and help clean up the gym afterward. Two students had the idea of sending leftover pizza home with students to avoid waste, and this worked really well.
Again this year we’re applying for Platinum EcoSchool status.
Butterfly Garden and Wildlife-Friendly Habitat Certification
Butterflies aren’t just nice to look at, they’re also expert pollinators (second only to bees)! Almost 90% of the world’s plants (including 70% of major food crops) rely on pollinators like bees and butterflies for fertilization and reproduction. Unfortunately, urban sprawl has caused the destruction of many natural butterfly habitats. Did you know that Wilkinson helps our local butterflies by providing a welcoming garden where they can live and thrive? That’s right, our Learning Garden is home to many different pollinators!
During the 2015/2016 school year, Wilkinson participated in the Canadian Wildlife Federation‘s WILD Spaces program and received a donation of around 45 pollinator friendly plants for our Learning Garden. With the help of a few parent volunteers, we planted them and cared for them over that summer so they’d grow into the healthy plants they are now. In October, 2017, we were notified by the Canadian Wildlife Federation that our Learning Garden has been officially designated as a Certified Wildlife-Friendly Habitat!
“You and your students transformed your school or group’s outdoor space into a place that helps wildlife and encourages youth to connect with and learn from nature.” – Canadian Wildlife Federation
Photos of the pollinator plants before and after being planted are below (courtesy of @WilkyEcoTeam). The certificate, in recognition of our initiative, dedication and hard work, can be found here.
Plastic Bottle Cap Collection
During the 2015/2016 school year, the EcoTeam collected plastic bottle caps with the goal of recycling them into a large mural.
Below is a photo of the completed mural (courtesy of @WilkyEcoTeam), which can be seen hanging in the school. Amazing work!
Thank you for your bottle cap donations!