Tools for Change
Our Eco Team at Brookfield High School was formed with the purpose of helping the school become environmentally friendly and educating fellow students on how they can help the planet. This year we aimed to improve the school’s courtyard by creating a more inclusive ecosystem that could provide a home to even more animals while making it a more enjoyable place for students to visit. Since we already certified the school as an Eco School and have been running activities to raise environmental awareness, our focus shifted to improving and expanding the garden in the courtyard and to removing invasive species. In order to do this, we needed tools, and this is where LSF came in.
As part of our project, we secured four garden bins from a community garden in the neighbourhood that was closing down, and we will be getting them this fall after the community has used them one last time. Not only will the tools help us bring the bins and soil over, but they will help us fill them! We plan to plant more vegetables than we currently can (we do already have a garden bed), and they will be used for our Breakfast Club, our Foods classes, our science classes, and for education about the Three Sisters. We also plan on making a bin dedicated to pollinators like bees to help support the environment and address the concern of declining bee populations.
Now that we have our Tools for Change, the sky’s the limit.
Our Action Project began well before the tools arrived. The grade 9 and 10 science classes started seeds indoors and even planted tomatoes that had been up on the International Space Station! The Eco Team had also done some work in the fall, trying to remove the invasive species Dog Strangling Vine in the front school beds. This had been quite difficult without the proper tools, and we only achieved a small amount of success.
Once the tools arrived, we were able to dig right in. We have hosted a school-wide “Plant a Seed” day during Earth week that included both veggies and pollinator plants. We have transplanted our cold crops out into our current garden bed. The grade 10 science class started an experiment growing plants using traditional versus modern methods, and we have entered phase two of our Dog Strangling Vine removal. Finally, we are now starting to work with the greater community as well to bring in composting and to plant fruit trees.
Reflection & Celebration
Looking back at our project, we are proud of what we have achieved. We successfully removed some of the invasive species at our school, and we have created a more inclusive ecosystem that supports the environment and provides a welcoming space for students to visit. The garden in the courtyard has become a place for students to enjoy and learn about the environment. Ms. Madon, our teacher facilitator, is extending the learning by running an eco-based class for senior students centred around taking care of the courtyard and the environment. These tools will help us not only now but in the years to come.
In conclusion, we have achieved our initial vision of creating a more inclusive ecosystem in the courtyard of Brookfield High School. Our Action Project has allowed us to remove invasive species and plant new, helpful plants and flowers that support the environment and our students. We are proud of our accomplishments and hope to inspire other schools to take action and create their own environmentally friendly projects.