Miles Macdonell Collegiate Sustainability Campaign


The College Miles Macdonell Collegiate ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) student group has had a busy past couple of months promoting citizenship, stewardship and sustainability in the school. After two years of not having the opportunity to meet in person or host in-person events, our students have been eager to plan and implement fun and engaging activities that promote the values of education for sustainable development. Here are some of the highlights of what the group has implemented for initiatives in the school to promote the values in our school.


Battery and Electronics and Stationary Recycling Initiatives:
ESD installed an e-waste and battery recycling depot in the school earlier this year and have now added a spot to recycle stationary in this area. Staff and students can bring these items to the boxes located outside of the cafeteria at any time.

Sustainable Valentines:
The ESD student group created eco-friendly Valentines made out of recycled paper and re-usable items that students had the opportunity to purchase and customize. The cards came with a fair trade chocolate and were delivered to students on Valentines Day. Creating the cards was a lot of fun and provided a great opportunity for our ESD students to display their creativity. This initiative proved to be super popular with over 50 cards ordered!

Local Fair Trade Iced Coffee Fundraiser:
As part of the CMMC Earth Week event, the ESD Student Committee organized and hosted a sustainable fundraiser selling locally sourced, fair-trade iced coffee from Jacked Up Jill Coffee. Jacked Up Jill Coffee is a company that recognizes the struggles women often face in achieving equity and offer mentorship and sisterhood to help girls and young women find their individual voices and unique paths. The iced coffee was sold outside the school cafeteria in biodegradable cups with discounts being offered to students who brought in their own mugs. The sale was a huge success and we sold out both days!

HP Change Idea Forum Student Leadership Conference:
On April 27th, three ESD student leaders had the opportunity to attend the HP Change Idea Forum Student Leadership Conference held at the Launch Coworking Space in the Grain Exchange Building. The vision for this conference was to empower students to come up with an idea that they want to turn into action and then create an action plan to turn it into a reality. Our students came up with a variety of projects that they would like to pursue such as making sustainable female hygiene products more accessible to members of Winnipeg’s homeless community and creating a permanent clothing depot in the school.

Little Free Library:
The student ESD committee, along with our teacher librarian, installed a little free library outside of the main library for CMMC students to access. Students can bring used fiction and non-fiction books at anytime to the teacher librarian, and once approved they are put in the free library for students to take at their convenience. The goal of this initiative is to both encourage literacy and to encourage sustainable living by limiting the need to purchase new books.

Sustainable Mother’s Day Cards:
After Earth Week, we also made sustainable Mother’s Day Seed-Paper Bouquets that we sold to staff and students. The biodegradable seed papers, embedded with wildflower seeds including Bird’s Eye, Clarkia, Black Eyed Susan, Sweet Alyssum, Catchfly, and Snapdragon were purchased through a local company, Botanical Paperworks. They were constructed into cones and were sold holding daisies and spider mums, but planting the seed paper results in the gift that keeps on giving! The fundraiser was a huge success and we sold out of all our bouquets.

Outdoor Gardens:
Our student ESD committee is busy working on getting ready to plant our outdoor garden. The students are currently in the process of determining what vegetables they would like to plant as well as the plants that we would like to include in our new garden space which is designed specifically for attracting pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

Depave Project/Future Outdoor Learning Space:
Our student ESD committee and staff ESD Learning and Leading team are currently working with the school IAA (Indigenous Academic Achievement) group to plan an outdoor learning and garden space in the area behind the library. We have secured $8000 in funding from the national Depave Paradise Project and are currently working with the school division to prepare a 100 square metre area to be depaved and replaced with landscaping. Depave Paradise is a project of Green Communities Canada whose goal is to engage volunteers and neighbourhoods to remove pavement and planting gardens filled with native species in its place. We are planning on having this project completed in late June and are very excited to have over 50 student and staff volunteers signed up already to work on completing the project.

Earth Week:
Our main event this year was our Earth Day/Week Initiatives. On Friday April 22nd, we hosted our sixth annual Earth Day at MMC. Our ESD committee planned a hybrid virtual and in-person event which enabled students to engage with several leaders and organizations in the environmental community. Leading presenters from the field spoke virtually to students over Teams and there were a variety of workshops available for classes to take part in. Our keynotes included Curt Hall, the program director of Climate Change Connection, a masters student and environmental advocate whose research is in regenerative agriculture and resilient food systems at the Natural Resources Institute, and an education specialist from Manitoba Council for International Cooperation. Our workshops topics included a variety of activities ranging from methods to reduce single-use plastics, closing the loop on fast-fashion, simulating food sustainability, composting, simulating ecosystem sustainability, and evaluating solutions to child labour. Some of the hands on workshops that students had the opportunity to participate in including making beeswax food wraps, creating patches to mend clothing decoratively and making reusable bags out of t-shirts.

Here is the full program for our Earth Day event:

Road to Resilience, Climate Action Team Curt Hall Climate Change Connection Bio: Curt Hull, P.Eng. has been Program Director of Climate Change Connection in Winnipeg since 2007. He works with NGOs, businesses, universities & colleges, as well as all levels of government to build a fossil-fuel free future. He currently serves on the board of Sustainable Building Manitoba and the Climate Reality Project Canada. Since 2016, he has been working on various clean energy and sustainability projects with diesel and winter road dependent First Nations in Northern Manitoba. He is currently working with Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba on climate change initiatives. Presentation Overview: What do we need to do to address climate change in Manitoba? And is it possible to do what needs to be done? Curt will present the Road to Resilience – a pathway to a resilient, fossil fuel free future for Manitoba. This document was released in February 2021. Since then, the Climate Action Team has been working to quantify the requirements outlined in this pathway and to build an implementation plan. The Road to Resilience: Energy Solutions shows that we can do what needs to be done. It can be done without experimental technologies, new dams, or nuclear – and with new jobs and economic benefits for all of us.

Hope and Action Murray Jowett – he/him, Natural Resources Institute, Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition. How do you find hope in the climate crisis? Murray thinks a lot about this question and deals with it through his work in resilient food systems and through environmental activism. He would like to hear from you and share some thoughts, exploring the many ways you can address climate change and feel better in the process.

No Child Labour, Leeza Oravec, MCIC (Manitoba Council for International Cooperation). Students are introduced to child labour by first recording their own daily schedule on a 24-hour clock diagram, then comparing it to the day of a child labourer. They then work through several other profiles of youth working around the world and decide whether it is “good” or “bad” work by placing the profile on a spectrum and sharing their reasoning. Students will also work in stations set up around the classroom to explore the 4 main causes of child labour, offering the opportunity to ask questions and suggest solutions. (Resources will be provided to teachers prior to session to set up stations).
CBC Journalists Discuss: How Should the Media Talk About Climate Change. CBC Journalists Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Students will have the opportunity to engage directly with CBC journalists about the role and responsibility of media in climate change coverage, holding powers to account and the global interconnectedness of climate storytelling. The conversation is geared to Grade 11 and 12 students and will support curriculum learning objectives in world issues, media, science, social and environment studies and citizenship. This will be a pre-recorded virtual presentation – Teachers who sign up will receive a link for the session.

Beeswax Food Wraps – Laura McCrindle, CMMC Teacher. In this hands-on, make-and-take workshop, students will learn how to make the increasingly popular beeswax wraps and help eliminate single use plastics used for food storage forever. Plastic food wrap is damaging to human health and ecosystems. Beeswax wraps used for covering bowls, wrapping leftovers, or whatever are the perfect alternative to plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and zip lock bags. These wraps, made from beeswax and cotton, are food safe, washable, reusable, and compostable!
Journey 2050 Game Adele Gervin Agriculture in the Classroom Journey 2050 is a free program that allows students grade 7-12 around the world to experience agriculture like it has never been taught before. As students explore world food sustainability they are encouraged to think critically about the ripple effect on social, economic and environmental factors locally and globally. Agricultural experts and real farm families from Kenya, India and Canada guide students through a virtual farm simulation, career avatar game and geography scavenger hunt. I will deliver 1 of the 7 hours of the pre-made, curriculum-linked lesson plans in a fun and engaging way for your students. If you would like, you can finish the rest of the program on your own.

Climate Atlas – Izzy Robac & Christiane Allan, University of Winnipeg. After a brief introduction/review of the basics of climate change (historical data, future modeling, causes), students will get a demo on how to use the Climate Atlas of Canada then be guided to explore multiple climate variables and their projected changes in the near future on a local and national scale. Following the activity, there will be a discussion on the implications of these changes and ways to take action to reduce climate change. If there’s any topics or themes you would like me to touch on I’d be happy to try to incorporate them into the workshop!

Nature Walk – Stacy Swanson, CMMC Teacher. Join Ms. Swanson on an interpretive walk through the community where he will show students that nature does not 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!

Composting and Vermiculture Workshop – Kristen Malec, Green Action Centre. Bio: Kristen Malec has been composting since she can remember, and always has been amazed by the magic of nature doing its work, turning food scraps into compost. As the Compost Program Coordinator at Green Action Centre for the past three years, she has been helping folks to discover the fascinating world of composting. Some of the most satisfying parts of her job are seeing how excited kids get about composting, the dedication of the teachers who spearhead composting programs at their schools and seeing the lightbulb moment someone has when they realize that composting isn’t as hard as they thought. Workshop Description: Did you know that adding organic waste (food scraps, etc.) to landfills creates methane and contributes to climate change? Join Kristen Malec from Green Action Centre to find out how you can help combat climate change by using worms to transform your food scraps into compost. Vermicomposting is an easy and fun way to keep your organic waste (food scraps) out of our landfills, and it can be done right inside your home or classroom! Kristen will cover everything you need to know to get started vermicomposting, including a live bin building demonstration.

T-Shirt Bags and Personal Action – Susan Lindsay, Climate Change Connection. It is time for action. What can each of us do to make a difference? Let’s discuss personal action while we make bags out of t-shirts from the thrift shop (students will be able to keep what they make).

Extending Life – Slowing the Fast Fashion Loop with Visible Mending – Rhonda Beebe, retired CMMC Teacher. This session will give attendees hands on experience mending worn clothing using a variety of embroidery stitches. Skills learned and resources explored will hopefully lead students on a journey to reduce fashion consumption through extending the life of the clothes they own. Students will leave the session promising to complete their project within one week and return it to Ms. McCrindle. Mending samples from the session will be used to construct patchwork pillows for the ESD to sell!

Interconnectedness: Life on Land – Leeza Oravec, MCIC (Manitoba Council for International Cooperation). Students will learn about the importance of Earth’s ecosystems and resources in a board game style workshop. Throughout the game, students make decisions that impact land, animals, and humanity’s future needs with their given resources. The lesson focuses on biodiversity, animal extinction, forest management and freshwater ecosystems.

Putting People and the Planet First – Jason Cegayle, Development and Peace Canada. Join Development and Peace to learn more about what we are doing to put People and Planet First! Learn about the work that our partners are doing to exemplify an ecological conversion, Care for Our Common Home and the Dignity of the Human Person. Come and learn more about the work of CDA (Development Council of Andohatapenaka) in Madagascar that is putting in place 51 micro-projects against climate change, DPA (Development and Partnership in Action) in Cambodia and the work that they are doing to put in place community fisheries and broodstock and with Cartias Choluteca and their work in Honduras, in providing legislation and land titles for indigenous land defenders. Canada is one of the largest countries with mining companies operating abroad. Learn more about what Development and Peace is doing to hold these companies accountable through the mHREDD (mandatory Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence Law) that was recently tabled at the House of Commons.

Take Pride Winnipeg – Team Up to Clean Up – Teacher Led. Hey Teachers! Want to take your classes outside to get some fresh air and clean up the school community? Then join the Take Pride Winnipeg’s annual cleanup campaign, Team Up to Clean Up, involving tens of thousands of school children, community groups, businesses, civic employees and individual volunteers. Supplies will be available for pick up in the main office all day (garbage bags, rubber gloves, and tongs). Groups are asked to please snap a picture of their ‘haul’ and send them to Ms. McCrindle. Collected garbage and recycling should be discarded in the appropriate dumpsters at the end of your walk. Teachers can also show their classes this video prior to the clean-up: https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8528751-glad-clean-canada-together/

In addition to Earth Day, we also held a variety of events and activities throughout the week to promote sustainability in the school including a clothing swap, selling fair trade iced coffees and an ESD themed Hackathon and a week-long BEE SUSTAINABLE campaign for students to win prizes for exhibiting sustainable behaviour (example: recycling, composting, reusing items, riding their bike to school, etc).

Reflection & Celebration

Our Earth week and sustainability initiatives were a huge success! All of our school wide initiative were met with enthusiasm in our school community and our ESD student group has grown in numbers throughout the school year. Students are engaged in learning about climate change and sustainability and it has become a part of the school culture.


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