Our Canada Project | Second
Jack Layton Award | Honourable Mention
Our school of 212 students is located in a rural area, about 20 minutes north of Orillia. We take great pride in our sustainable living and outreach initiatives. We have a student-led recycling and composting program, promote energy and waste reduction, have a pollination garden, are fund raising for an outdoor classroom, will soon have solar panels on the school’s roof (a board initiative), and engage in student-led campaigns to benefit organizations such as WWF Canada, the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Center and local wildlife rehabilitation centres. We also use Step Outside guides to foster, in students, an awareness and appreciation of nature in our school yard.
This is the second year we have assisted local wildlife rehabilitation centres Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge and Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary with fall food gathering, to sustain orphaned and injured animals that are overwintering in their care. As small charitable organizations, they really appreciate our assistance. I am very proud of the leadership qualities my students demonstrated, in promoting and organizing this year’s food drive. I was gratified to see students and staff throughout our school embracing the opportunity to help nourish individual animals and, in doing so, to help to sustain biodiversity by gathering items from nature that are accessible near their homes. Further, the food drive provided a wonderful opportunity for my students to learn curriculum in a real world context, and for a real purpose.
We were thrilled that this project received honourable mention in the Jack Layton Youth Action in Sustainability contest, and then second place in the Our Canada Project competition! The latter came with a $2000. prize, to be invested in another student-led project. We decided to create a new project called, "Shelters for Orphaned Wildlife." The new project has its own listing on this site.