EMPOWERING YOUTH FOR CLIMATE ACTION 2023 AWARD WINNERS
The Empowering Youth for Climate Action Award is given annually to the top Action Projects posted on Our Canada Project to recognize outstanding student leadership and contributions to Canada’s sustainable future.
Thank you to Environment and Climate Change Canada for their generous support of LSF’s Youth Forums and Action Project grants and specifically for making these awards possible!
Each of the winning schools will be given a certificate of achievement acknowledging their successful project in addition to a financial prize to be used for future Action Projects:
- First place: $3,000
- Second place: $2,000
- Third place: $1,000 each
- Runner-ups: $500 each
Check out the winning projects below!
To all of the students and teachers who participated, thank you for your wonderful projects! We are truly impressed by the level of creativity, the reach and the efforts behind your Action Projects this year!
Community Garden – Bridgewood Public School/DevHotel – Cornwall, ON
This project was driven by students at the DevHotel who are all asylum seekers, are new to Canada, and have limited English proficiency. A community garden was created by students so they could make friends, have fresh food, be active, and meet other families from around the world. Students began by using their math skills to plan out the garden’s location and practicing their English skills by surveying families and seeing which vegetables they would like to grow. Students constructed garden beds with help from a local high school class and also received assistance from a community gardening group when adding their plants. This garden has played an instrumental role in fostering a sense of community and activity among educators, students, and families at the DevHotel! It will also be a source of food for the families and serve as a community activity throughout the summer months!
15 Minute Cities – Think Globally, Act Locally – École Glenbrook Middle School – New Westminster, BC
After attending LSF’s Climate Action Youth Forum in Vancouver and learning about the growing population, limited city area, and increased traffic congestion in their city, students were inspired to address these issues and promote a healthier environment. They aspired to make change on a large scale and transform their city into a “15-minute city” where all essentials are only 15 minutes away and active transport is encouraged. Students filed a motion with the City of New Westminster, which included requests to increase and widen sidewalks around the city, provide free public transit for youth, improve bike infrastructure, and much more. With support from the city’s Mayor, the motion was passed on June 12, 2023 and is to be implemented by 2030! Check out this video of the students’ presentation to the city. These students learned so much about how their local government works and how they can take action to mitigate climate change and improve their city!
Interested in making your community a 15-minute city? Glenbrook’s Monkey Rebel club has put together this toolkit to help you prepare your own motion! They say: “Let’s make Canada a 15-minute country!
What a Waste! – Fort Richmond Collegiate – Winnipeg, MB
Inspired by LSF’s Climate Action Youth Forum in Winnipeg and ready to create actionable change, Earth Club students embarked on a mission to decrease non-food waste production and to educate students and staff on decreasing waste at school. After conducting an audit of the cafeteria, students learned that approximately 25-30 plastic forks were used per day from the cafeteria—that’s over 5,000 plastic forks (or about 30 kg of waste) per year! This resulted in the creation of the “What a Waste” program. Students decided to purchase metal forks for the school to borrow. Earth Club students would then collect the used forks and wash them so they could be reused. They made presentations in each classroom, prepared a display board, and rewarded students who brought litterless lunches to school. Approximately 2,000 plastic forks have been prevented from going to the landfill in just a few months! To take their efforts one step further, students wanted to connect with the school and community through education, activities and activism. The Earth Club designed and led various Earth Week activities including presentations, games, contests, an Eco-Conscious Escape Room and culminating with a Fridays for the Future Climate Rally!The Earth Club has realized the impactful action that they can have within their school, community and beyond. As a result, students plan on continuing to incorporate sustainability and climate action into their learning and experiences!
Ville du Futur – Center LREC – Laval, QC
In an effort to think more deeply about their city and the challenges of climate change, Center LREC’s Club Techno students participated in the Future City competition. They thought and acted as engineers to build a physical representation of their city 100 years from now. Students focused specifically on an innovative, futuristic climate change adaptation, and a mitigation strategy to keep their residents healthy and safe. They worked in teams to build their models using recycled materials as they used their knowledge and understanding of how their communities function to identify local problems, brainstorm ideas, design solutions, test their models, re-test and build, and share their results. Their projects touched on urban zoning, infrastructure, municipal services, transit, climate-related issues and technology. As a result, students became more informed citizens and increased their awareness of civic issues and green municipal politics!
Solution D’énergie Verte Pour La Recharge Des Véhicules Électriques – ESC Renaissance/Équipe Francobotique – Aurora, ON
After conducting extensive research into the benefits of electric vehicles, students discovered that governments around the world are installing a large number of public charging stations for electric vehicles. This made them wonder how locally-produced renewable energy could be incorporated to power electric vehicles without requiring major infrastructure modifications. They came up with a solution to charge parked electric vehicles through a combination of solar and wind energy produced on site. Students then designed and created an interactive scale model of their local mall showing their four proposed renovation phases. They wrote up a comprehensive analysis of the costs and environmental benefits of our solution and presented it to the mall’s property and operations managers! Upper Canada Mall and Oxford Properties are now considering the possibility of implementing some of the student’s renovation phases at the mall and around the world!
Keeping it Cool: a Children’s Book on Climate Action – Harbour View High School – Saint John, NB
Realizing that climate change is often portrayed as an unsolvable and overwhelming issue, the students of Harbour View’s climate action group wanted to help younger children understand this issue and keep them engaged without contributing to eco-anxiety.Thinking about ways to talk about climate change and climate action with elementary-aged students in a way that is empowering rather than instilling fear or dread, students decided to write their own children’s book on climate change mitigation! The story uses analogies to explain the effects of global warming while also providing age-appropriate solutions for this global issue. To date, students have shared their book with several local elementary schools and a Climate Education class at St. Thomas University! Students hope to continue growing this project and publish their book professionally so all elementary schools in the province can have a copy!
Restoring Tallgrass Prairies in Winnipeg’s Garden City Neighbourhood – H.C. Avery Middle School – Winnipeg, MB
H.C. Avery Middle School has a strong focus on outdoor education and land-based learning, which has led to students learning about the carbon-sequestering power of Indigenous Tallgrass prairie species. They became interested in removing colonizing plants and grasses and restoring land to its original ecological systems to absorb carbon, develop drought resiliency, provide corridors for native animal and insect species, and participate in decolonization. Students took the lead to reach out to a local homeowner, developed a 200 sq/ft garden in the homeowner’s front yard, and planted 24 different Tallgrass prairie species. There has been a lot of interest in this garden, with many other local homeowners reaching out to ask how they did it! Students are excited to expand the project to other properties in the neighbourhood!
Check out this article to read more about their garden and its impact on the whole community!
Electric Pollinators – Captain R. Wilson Public School – Oakville, ON
After attending the LSF Climate Action Youth Forum in Toronto, students were inspired to create a project that involved plants, had the biggest impact possible, and made taking sustainable action easy and fun! As a result, students planned, organized, and ran an e-waste drive to ensure broken or unwanted electronics got recycled properly and keep dangerous components out of the environment. They started by making posters and announcements, putting the tech drive in the parent newsletter, and making classroom visits. In exchange for a donation, students would receive a seed starter package, an environmentally friendly decal sticker, and be entered in a draw to win an ice cream sandwich party for their class. Students collected almost 2,000 items from the e-waste drive—diverting over 420 kg of waste from landfill!—and both students and families were really excited about the seeds!
Facts of Leaf Flower Farm – Centennial Collegiate – Saskatoon, SK
The student-led horticulture club, Facts of Leaf Flower Farm, were motivated by a strong desire to combat climate change by using regenerative agricultural principles of densely interplanting diverse plant varieties and under-cropping with vegetables to produce an incredible amount of produce and flowers. The club managed to get the entire school involved, from the physical education classes moving soil and mulch, the entrepreneurship class running a fundraising plant sale, the robotics class designing and installing an irrigation system, and so much more! To date, over 8,000 plants have been planted and students are looking forward to donating their flowers to care homes and using them in the school’s graduation ceremony!
Indigenous Language Revitalization and Exchange in the Community – École Sainte Catherine – Lac la Biche, AB
The leader of this project is a Cree-speaking kindergarten student who is passionate about languages and his heritage. In the small Northern community of Lac La Biche, AB, there have been some efforts to revitalize the Cree language and bring notice to the other Indigenous languages in their community. However, students and teachers noticed a lack of effort to sustain these projects, along with an overall lack of Cree resources and activities. Spurred by the passion of this young student, École Sainte Catherine launched a project dedicated to revitalizing Indigenous languages. They partnered with the Lac La Biche Canadian Native Friendship Centre and began sourcing children’s books and other literacy materials in Cree. Students are partnering with Elders and knowledge keepers to produce video documentation of the languages, which includes Cree stories being read to children. Students and teachers have been inspired to continue revitalizing the cultures and languages that have been introduced during this Action Project, and they plan to invite Cree speakers into the school every month going forward!
NutriBuddies Cooking Show – James Morden Public School – Niagara Falls, ON
Noticing the food waste being produced at their school, students in grade 6/7 wondered how they could divert or prevent food waste that wasn’t quite ready to be composted (i.e., browning bananas, bruised apples, etc.). After surveying the student body, they learned that food waste was spotted in the school snack bins regularly and many students identified an interest in cooking, often watching cooking videos on YouTube or TikTok. As a result, students decided to take action and educate others by creating the NutriBuddies Cooking Show that focuses on sustainable cooking practices! They connected the show to the Ontario Health Curriculum, Science & Technology Curriculum, and Media Literacy Curriculum. Students surveyed the school to develop an action plan, decide which videos to create, and assign roles & responsibilities. All grade 6/7 students were involved in either the recipe development, video script writing, video production/taping, on-camera crew, video editing, and/or media promoting. Students posted the videos to Youtube and shared them with all staff and students to encourage healthier eating habits and sustainable practices!
Expanding Bike Rack Capacity and Encouraging Active Transportation – Kennebecasis Valley High School – Quispamsis, NB
Inspired by their town’s new active transportation plan, students had a vision to encourage more active transportation by expanding their school’s capacity for biking. Students conducted a survey of the student body which revealed that there was a desire for more bike racks since their current one was overflowing and sitting on a muddy patch. After conducting research into various bike racks, students decided that a collaboration with their school’s welding class to build the new racks would be beneficial for everyone! Together, students designed and built an 18-spot bike rack! In addition, students established partnerships with local businesses who donated prizes to students who biked to school and posted about it on social media. Students are excited to see their new, big, bold bike rack taking off!
Aero Garden – NJ Macpherson School – Yellowknife, NT
Living in the North, students have limited access to fresh produce during the long and dark winter season. Wanting to reduce their reliance on semi trucks bringing in fresh produce and herbs, students asked to purchase Aero-Gardens so they could have a more accessible and sustainable way of getting fresh produce! Students used their Aero-Gardens to grow mint, basil, dill, spinach, and different varieties of lettuce and greens. They then created and enjoyed various recipes with this produce! Students shared, ate, and talked with their parents, friends, and siblings about how great the produce tasted and how easy it was to manage and access!
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