Students check out their newly depaved and planted greenspace. Credit: R.A. Riddell Elementary School.
A lot can happen in a year. For students and teachers at 10 schools across the Greater Golden Horseshoe this past year was all about celebrating their local environment and the Greenbelt!
In September 2015, EcoSpark in partnership with the Small Change Fund and Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation launched the 10 for 10 Greenbelt Youth Campaign, celebrating the 10th anniversary of Ontario’s Greenbelt. Students and teachers from 10 schools participated with $1,000 each from EcoSpark to achieve their Greenbelt goals.
Many of our newest Greenbelt Ambassadors recognized a similar problem within their communities: not a lot of people are aware of how connected our everyday lives are to the Greenbelt. How did they solve this issue? By bringing classmates as close to the Greenbelt as they could, whether on bus tours, school awareness campaigns, or local greening initiatives to make sure everyone has access to some nearby nature!
|Meet EcoSpark’s action-minded 10 for 10 Greenbelt Youth Campaign schools|
|Youth Greenbelt Awareness and Action Project - Dunbarton High School, Pickering
Bus tours brought over 100 students into the Greenbelt to learn about land use issues and conduct water quality research for biology class.
Do This, Not That
- Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School, Grimsby
- Toronto Islands School, Toronto
Depave Paradise - R.A. Riddell Elementary School, Hamilton
Greenbelt Awareness and Revitalization Project - R.H. King Academy, Toronto
Capture This Moment! - Palermo Public School, Oakville
Ontario’s Greenbelt may have been the spotlight, but the true stars were the youth driving these projects! It doesn’t matter how close (or far) you are to Ontario’s Greenbelt; everyone has a role to play in protecting it.
“The Greenbelt is important to me not only because it's a part of my childhood, but also because it's great for my mental and physical well-being”, said Andrew Fryer of Dunbarton High School. “I hike and canoe in the Rouge Valley on a regular basis, as well as biking in Durham Regional Forest”.
Dunbarton students learn about land use planning and conservation with staff from the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Christopher Williams, a teacher at Milliken Mills High School, also recognized the importance of engaging youth to solve environment issues in their community, “I’ve always taught my students that their actions, no matter how big or small, can have a positive impact. The Greenbelt gives us a chance to combat some of the effects of climate change and create food security.”
As the school year ends our 10 for 10 schools will be wrapping up their projects and celebrating their many accomplishments. This past year, youth showed us just how powerful their voices and actions can be!
Environment Education Coordinator, EcoSpark