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Our vision for Canada is one where students and staff promote environmental stewardship among the school community (i.e., students, teachers, staff, parents, community at large). Our students and staff wish to support a healthy ecosystem and reestablish a natural habitat in our schoolyard. Our hope is to enhance health and educational outcomes of students by providing naturalized spaces to learn and play, and supporting engagement in growing, harvesting (and eating) vegetables and fruits.
Our school was built in 2014 and is integrated into a multi-phase subdivision development. A sub-committee of the parent council has been supporting the implementation of a broad schoolyard greening plan to address a lack of shade, windbreak and natural habitat on the school grounds. This project is a part of a larger schoolyard greening initiative. We have already planted trees and will install an outdoor classroom in the future. For this project, members of our school’s EcoClub (40 students in grades 5 to 8) are working with students in four kindergarten classes (110 students) to design and plant two different gardens – a vegetable garden and a pollinator garden. The students have been engaged throughout the project to learn about the process of growing produce, the variety of food that grows in Ontario and the health benefits of vegetables, as well as the role and importance of pollinators in the ecosystem.
On May 8th, with the guidance and help of Rachel, our friend from the University of Guelph’s Arboretum and one of our community partners, students participated in prepping and planting the first phase of our garden. We are anxiously awaiting the arrival and installation of four “stock tub” accessible vegetable gardens in which we will plant vegetables grown from seed in our Kindergarten classes. In Science, some of our classes participated in the TomatoSphere project. These tomato plant seedlings will also be planted in our vegetable garden.