Earth Day: Sustainable Hands-On Workshops


Our vision for Canada is… for the youth of Canada to see sustainability as part of their daily lives by changing their consumption habits and adopting a greener lifestyle.


On April 23rd, 2019 Miles Macdonell Collegiate held it’s 4th annual Earth Day event. This student organized event featured 3 keynote speakers in the morning followed by a clothing swap and local food sale at lunch and then in the afternoon there were 12 concurrent workshops that classes could sign up for. Our students were involved in all aspects of the event from the planning stages in the fall to the facilitation the day of and the school wide survey that was sent out after to see what sustainability initiatives students would like us to pursue throughout the next school year. The $200 grant from LSF was used to specifically purchase ingredients for our Foods students to make muffins made out of locally sourced products as well as the workshop where students had the opportunity to make their own eco-friendly toothpaste and air fresheners. The majority of the 1200 students in the school took part in at least one session or workshop that day. We partnered with a variety of community members to make the day a success- our partners were:
Susan Lindsay and Curt Hull (Climate Change Connection) Winnipeg Youth Action Sisler Sustainability Circle, MMC ESD Kids, Friday’s for our Future Eric Reder (Wilderness Committee) Naomi
Johnson (Canadian Food Grains Bank) Ryan Smith (Prairie Climate Centre) Veronica Sharkey (Manitoba Environmental Youth Network) Ellen Cobb-Friesen (Manitoba Eco-Network) Simone Davidson (Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre) Bethany Damon (Green Action Centre)
Aboriginal Games (Oak Hammoch Marsh Interpretive Centre) Barret Miller (Fort Whyte Alive) Erica Young (Local Manitoba Farmer)
Here is a summary of all of our sessions:
Period 1 – Theatre

Curt Hull (Climate Change Connection)
Let’s Activate and Build Resistance

Curt Hull is a passionate climate change educator. He participates in every level of action in the City of Winnipeg. You can see him on the street cycling, at City Hall discussing transit, training to build energy efficient housing, promoting local food vendors, or developing plans to get our city off fossil fuels. He has participated in climate change action in the city for over a decade. Come and hear about issues that impact you: transportation, food, taxes, energy and a whole lot more.

Period 2 – Theatre

Winnipeg Youth Action
Sisler Sustainability Circle, MMC ESD Kids, Friday’s for our Future

Participate in a conversation of Youth Action. What are youth doing to tackle climate change? How is your own school and other schools reducing greenhouse gases? How can you get involved? What works and what doesn’t as a student trying to make change?

Period 3 – Theatre

Eric Reder (Wilderness Committee)
The Fight for a Healthy Climate

As a Wilderness Campaigner for over a decade, Eric has been at the forefront of preserving wilderness, protecting wildlife, defending parks, safeguarding public resources and fighting for a healthy climate. Come and hear about the most urgent campaigns and how youth can play a part in protecting nature and ensuring a future that includes wilderness.

MMC Earth Day Sessions – Tue. Apr. 23, 2019
AM – Keynote Speakers – Large Group Sessions

PM Workshops (these sessions will be in your classroom unless otherwise noted)
Classroom Session

Offered in Slot 4 and in Slot 5

Naomi Johnson (Canadian Food Grains Bank)
Impacts and Adaptation: Experiences of Climate Change around the World

Much of what we hear about climate change as Canadians, relates to our role in producing carbon emissions and how we can take small actions (use public transport, recycle, etc.) to reduce our contribution to those emissions (known as mitigation efforts). What we don’t hear enough of, is how climate change is already impacting people’s lives around the world -particularly those of small-scale farmers and women. This presentation will educate students on how climate change is currently impacting people’s livelihoods, and why small-scale farmers and women, are among those most affected. Adaptation strategies will be discussed, and students will learn how they can support those being affected through advocacy and contributing to a climate fund, based on individual or classroom carbon emissions. Understanding climate change from various perspectives, through both stories and science, is crucial to creating positive change.

Classroom Session

Offered in Slot 4 and in Slot 5
Ryan Smith (Prairie Climate Centre)
Climate Change :Why it Matters for Manitoba

2017 was Canada’s 2nd warmest year on record, at 0.9 °C above average. But so what? Don’t warmer temperatures sound like a good thing for Manitoba? Using the brand-new interactive Climate Atlas of Canada, developed by the Prairie Climate Centre at the University of Winnipeg, this presentation takes a close look at what climate models say will happen to the climate of Manitoba should we continue to burn fossil fuels and release greenhouse gases. A heavy focus of the talk will be on solutions, including the Government of Canada’s plan to reduce its carbon footprint. We will also learn the basics of climate science and explore how climate models work. During the hands-on component of the talk, students will get to build their very own climate models so they can see for themselves why greenhouse gases cause the planet to warm. At the end of the talk, the presenter will play a short game of ‘climate trivia,’ where teams can try to win a very special climate change prize.

Classroom Session

Offered in Slot 4 and in Slot 5

Veronica Sharkey (Manitoba Environmental Youth Network)
Environmental Justice and Us

Climate Change is happening and it’s forcing us all to think about a greener future. Powerful action needs to be taken quickly, and it needs to be taken together as communities, businesses, governments, and everyday people. But how do we make sure that everyone is included in environmental solutions? Explore how environmental and social justice issues intersect, and where that leaves you.

Classroom Session

Offered in Slot 4 and in Slot 5 Ellen Cobb-Friesen (Manitoba Eco-Network)
Water in the Changing Climate

By interacting with a watershed model, we will discuss how climate is anticipated to affect our local water cycle and water within the Lake Winnipeg watershed. We will discuss our global water footprint and discover what each of us can do to reduce our impacts.


Offered in Slot 4 and in Slot 5
Simone Davidson (Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre)
Prairie Raptors

In this program, students will learn all there is to know about raptors, specifically the raptors that call Manitoba home and are helped by PWRC. Not only are raptors very fascinating animals, but they are very important to our environment and many different ecosystems. Our wildlife ambassadors will also be present, so everyone can see up close their special adaptations.

Classroom Session

Offered in Slot 4 and in Slot 5
Keana Rellinger (Manitoba Council for International Cooperation)
Climate Justice

In this workshop, students will learn about the multiple sides of the impacts of climate change. Beginning with the causes of climate change, students will explore what climate justice is and why it matters through a hands-on, engaging activity that promotes the idea of global citizenship. Throughout the workshop and activity, students will address how climate change is connected to the environment, economies and social well-being around the world.

Classroom Session

Offered in Slot 4 and in Slot 5
Bethany Damon (Green Action Centre)
DIY Toothpaste and Air Freshener

Interested in making your own personal hygiene and household products that don’t include microbeads (or chemicals), and that are made using ingredients from bulk containers so we reduce plastic packaging! Today we will be making toothpaste and natural air freshener.

Outdoors (Science Wing Doors)

Offered in Slot 4 and in Slot 5
Aboriginal Games (Oak Hammoch Marsh Interpretive Centre)

Learn how to play some of the traditional games of Manitoba’s Indigenous communities and the skills and knowledge that they promote.

Classroom Session

Offered in Slot 4 and in Slot 5
Barret Miller (Fort Whyte Alive)
Nature Walk and Scavenger Hunt in EK

Join Barret on an interpretive walk through the community where he will show students that nature doesn’t stop at the city border. The walk will take students west down Kimberley Avenue as far as the park behind Bronx Community Centre along the Red River and back. Dress for the weather!
Classroom Session

Offered in Slot 4 and in Slot 5 Erica Young (Local Manitoba Farmer)
Food and Climate Change

Join Erica in a discussion about how local food can help solve the climate crisis. While discuss climate change, you will be preparing and a baking yummy locally sourced treat!

Classroom Session

Offered for afternoon foods classes Janelle Delorme
Social Justice

Janelle works to promote alternatives to unfair social, political and economic structures, and educate Canadians about poverty. She hopes to mobilize Canadians towards actions for change. Participate in a discussion about her most recent campaign and participate in a hands-on activity.


*** Available slot 5 only Take Pride Winnipeg Community Clean-up

Meet in the theatre to get supplies (garbage bags and rubber gloves) for a community clean-up. Your class will be assigned a particular area to pick up trash.

Reflection & Celebration

Our Earth Day event was very well attended with classes signing up to see speakers and take part in workshops almost immediately after the information was sent out. This has become an annual event in the school that is now a large part of the school culture. After the event we sent out a survey to our entire student body to see what sustainability issues they would like our ESD student group to focus on for the 2019-20 school year. Based upon the feedback that we received the two biggest sustainability issues that our student body sees are waste/plastic use as well as encouraging more active transportation. We have already met as a group and have started to look at what projects we would like to complete next year that focus on these issues.

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
13. Climate Action
17. Partnerships for the Goals
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