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Feature Article - November 24, 2005

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Feature Article

November 24, 2005

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Gray MerriamLegaleseGeneral information and opinion on legal topics by Rural Legal ServicesNature Reflectionsby Jean GriffinNight Skiesby Leo Enright

The Greening of Land o' Lakes Public School

by Jeff Green

Two years ago this February, Dora Hunter, the School to Community Teacher at Land O Lakes Public School in Mountain Grove, decided that Land O’ Lakes should be a Green School.

She had received some information from an organisation called the Seeds Foundation, which promotes what they call “environmental actions” by students.

Dora Hunter was intrigued by the Seeds Foundation’ s Green Schools Program. To become a Green School, 100 environmental projects must be completed by students and staff. So, Dora Hunter solicited support from the entire school, and the projects began to take shape.


Each project was documented in a kind of scrap book. A picture of a tree was painted on a board, and 100 yellow dots were painted on the tree. As each project was completed, a yellow dot was painted green. Some of the projects involved community outreach, such as community clean up days and participation in the Trees For Peace program, while others involved changes to the day to day running of the school. These projects included reinvigorating the School’s recycling program and using only recycled materials in the school’s science fair.

It took about a year and half, but earlier this fall, the 100th program was completed, and last week the final yellow dot was painted on the tree at an early morning assembly attended by students, parents, and local MPP Leona Dombrowsky.

The Green Schools program doesn’t end at 100 projects. Some schools have gone further, some reaching the Earth 1 level by completing 1,000 projects.

Land O’Lakes Public School will be switching gears, however, and instead of continuing with the Green Schools program it will be focussing on a Limestone School board - wide initiative called ECOSchools.

The ECOSchools initiative includes an emphasis on energy conservation within schools, as well as reduce/reuse/recycle practices, and investing the core curriculum with ecological information.

To make improvements in the Ecological status of a school, a five step process is put in place. In step 1, an ECO team is established, in step 2 an ecological review is conducted, in step 3 an action plan is developed which is implemented in step 4. Step 5 involves the monitoring and evaluating of progress.

One of the first things that staff and students at Land O’ Lakes will be working on is cutting down on energy use by making sure lights and computer monitors are shut off when they should be. ECO School looks at all aspects of the school, from the classroom to the playground, from how the school operates to how the curriculum is delivered, from an ecological angle.

With the Green Schools experience at Land O Lakes, ECOSchools should be easy to implement.

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