36 Toronto schools certified as ‘Ecoschools’

By  Nicholas Carafa, The Catholic Register
  • June 5, 2009
{mosimage}Students across 36 elementary schools sang, rapped and rhymed their way on May 27 to certification in the Ontario Ecoschool environmental education program.

The Toronto Catholic District School Board officially certified these schools as EcoSchools as part of its third annual recognition event at Downsview Park. Each school was presented with an Ontario EcoSchool plaque for its efforts throughout the year.

Ontario EcoSchools is an environmental education program that addresses both how the schools are run and what the students learn. It has been designed to incorporate environmental education as well as environmentally responsible action in the school setting.

“The schools have worked so hard to accomplish this certification,” said Roberta Oswald, a science resource teacher at the TCDSB. “They showed the rest of us how to be environmentally conscious.”

To qualify for the the certification, a school must prove they have strived for energy conservation, waste reduction, environmental education, the greening of their school, and most importantly, an “Eco-team” of students dedicated to bring about change in their school community.

One by one, representatives from each school went  on stage and explained their accomplishments to a crowd of community members, teachers, and students from across the board. The students entertained the crowd as they sang, rapped and rhymed an eco-message they wanted to get across to their peers. The event celebrated schools that have been involved since the beginning of the program and certified a number of first-time schools.

The EcoSchool Program presents students with a chance to be pro-active in applying their Catholic faith. It was inspired by the late Pope John Paul II’s teaching that the planet’s ecological condition is a responsibility of everyone and people all over the world need to recognize their obligation to contribute to the restoration of a healthy environment.

“We have to take the time and recognize the environmental achievements that our schools accomplished,” Oswald said.

The event primarily focused on elementary schools. Later this year, nine TCDSB high schools will be certified as EcoSchools, communicating the ecological message throughout all levels of the education system.

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