| Sep 17, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - September 17, 2009 Two limestone schools receive “Eco school” awardsBy Julie Druker

Grade 8 students at NAEC who helped achieve the school’s Gold status as a Ontario Eco School for the year 2008/2009

North Addington Education Centre (NAEC) in Cloyne and Sydenham High School (SHS) were two of four schools in the Limestone District School Board to become certified for the first time as EcoSchools. NAEC and SHS were awarded respectively a gold and bronze medal at the LDSB meeting held in Kingston on September 9.

Last year staff and students at both schools entered the EcoSchool program, which recognizes a school’s environmental stewardship and awards points for achievements in a number of areas, including teamwork and leadership, energy conservation, waste minimization, school ground greening, and curriculum and environmental stewardship.

The Ontario EcoSchool program was created in 2002 to address environmental issues in the formal education system, and was designed to help students develop ecological literacy and become environmentally responsible citizens.

The program requires the commitment of members of the school administration, staff and students who together form an Eco team. The team creates, implements and monitors various action plans to manage and evaluate their eco progress throughout the school year.

NAEC teachers Beth Hasler and Melissa Randle co-chaired the program there, and Vice Principal Kelly Roantree chaired the program at Sydenham.

Both schools focused mainly on recycling, energy conservation, curriculum and environmental stewardship.

Students and staff at both schools designed in-school systems to recycle cans, plastic and cardboard and glass, and to conserve energy by turning off lights, monitors and closing blinds. Waste minimization was also focused on.

At NAEC, GOOS (good on one side) paper bins were developed and located in every classroom as a way of reusing paper. A swap shop was set up at an open house where students and staff donated various articles that they were no longer using.

Under the category of “school ground greening”, NAEC students revitalized their shaded courtyard with flowers donated by community members. Under the curriculum category, teachers at NAEC taught lessons about the environment and assigned various projects to students, which included journaling and field trips. One of the field trips was a visit to Lemoine Point in Kingston, where grade 9 and 11 students helped rid the area of a species of invasive garlic mustard.

Both schools under the stewardship category also held school-wide earth hour and earth day programs. At NAEC all lights were turned off for one hour and earth day events included cleaning up the environment around the school.

At Sydenham one initiative focused on promoting paperless communication. Parents and staff were encouraged to check the school website and email instead of relying on mail-outs. Student announcements were written on white boards instead of being printed out and organizations within the school were encouraged to promote the use of reusable beverage containers rather than plastic bottled beverages.

Both schools are planning to re-implement the EcoSchool program this year and both are focusing on the areas where they can improve. At NAEC the focus will be on constructing a shaded area in the playground and a new program called Litterless Lunch Fridays will begin, when children will be encouraged to bring lunches that produce no litter.

In Sydenham Kelly Roantree is hoping that this year the school will be “going for gold”. She says that this year’s team will focus on embedding eco practices within the school and its curriculum as well as greening up the school grounds.

Any school interested in joining the EcoSchool program can visit www.ontarioecoschools.org or contact Karl Walker at 613-544-6925 ext.258

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