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.
Again in 2023, Wilkinson Public School received Platinum EcoSchool certification! Amazing! We were first awarded Platinum EcoSchool certification in 2017/2018 after being certified as a Gold EcoSchool in both 2013 and 2015 and a Bronze EcoSchool in 2011. In 2023, Wilkinson was also awarded the Project 2050 badge for contributing to the fight against climate change by adopting small but impactful climate-friendly habits.
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:
In October, Mr. Kotsampouikidis, Ms. Harrison and Mme Barbier attended this year’s EcoSchools kick off put on by the Board. Along with 15 other ward schools, we learned about how our students are building global competencies such as problem solving and critical thinking through EcoSchools real world actions and practices. This year’s focus will be the real world problem of reducing single use plastics. Our team decided to make this a focus of our school year. For instance, we no longer offer juice boxes at pizza lunch. Phase 1 of this program was introduced in April.
EcoTeam members are often active at Pizza Lunch helping students to sort plates and leftovers into the appropriate bins.
On Tuesdays, 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 plan to do more education around what makes a litterless lunch.
We’re continuing the classroom auditing program, by checking that lights and electronics are turned off when not in use and that garbage and recycling are in their proper place.
We have announcements every morning about energy use in the classroom.
We’re continuing to recycle dry markers, caps, pens and mechanical pencils.
This year the Parent Council is funding fall and spring visits by Elin M, the garden educator of Seedling Stories. The students will learn about where their food comes from, making “food chains”, and picking up weeds and litter from the Learning Garden. We are excited about enhancing our garden with her come spring. Check out photos of some of the fall and Spring activities.
The EcoTeam is helping with our Earth Day celebration and annual school-wide cleanup on Tuesday, April 30th. We’ll prepare a short presentation for the school, including a review of safety instructions when picking up litter. Then classes will head outside for 20-30 minutes to clean up a designated area of the yard or streets adjacent to the school.
We are creating other bottle cap murals. We have lots of leftover bottle caps from our last project (see below), but we need more clean yellow and purple bottle caps to complete our rainbow. If your kids drink squeeze pouches with yellow caps or drink purple juice, please bring these caps to the school. Once cleaned, they can be placed in Mme Barbier’s mailbox in the main office or dropped off in room 16. Thank you for your help!
The EcoTeam helped the Parent Council run a textile recycling fundraiser.
Check for updates and photos of these and other projects on the EcoTeam’s Twitter feed.
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!