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Ontario EcoSchools is an environmental education and certification program for grades K-12 that helps school communities develop both ecological literacy and environmental practices to become environmentally responsible and reduce the environmental footprint of schools.
Our six areas of focus and achievement are: Teamwork & Leadership, Energy Conservation, Waste Minimization, School Ground Greening, Curriculum, and Environmental Stewardship. For more information on these sections, please visit the Program Sections page.
In 2016-17, we worked with over 1,830 schools in 56 school boards, representing 37% of all schools in Ontario.
By recognizing achievements in environmental education and conservation, Ontario EcoSchools is an innovative model of sustained environmental awareness coupled with behavioural change.
One of the main impacts of Ontario EcoSchools is the implementation of board-wide waste minimization and energy conservation standards. This standardization allows for schools to work towards certain benchmarks and see their progress year over year as part of a larger community of schools.
As well, certified Ontario EcoSchools use less energy and produce less waste than non-certified schools in Ontario. Visit our Publications page to find out the results of two studies, a Waste Comparison Study (conducted by Immacutec) and an Energy Performance Study (conducted by Enerlife).
Last year, over 900,000 students participated in our program and 822 educators took part in our professional development workshops, developing stronger school capacity for environmental change. See our 2015-16 Infographic to get a sense of our reach over one school year.
Ontario EcoSchools fosters student leadership skills and environmental citizenship. Through actions both in and outside the classroom, students address Energy Conservation, Waste Minimization, School Ground Greening, and Environmental Stewardship. The student-centered focus allows EcoTeams to take the lead in environmental learning paired with daily actions. Active participation develops capacity, promotes whole school engagement, and creates meaningful connections to local communities. Ontario EcoSchools reaches more than 900,000 students every year (37% of all students in Ontario) and encourages all grades to be actively involved in whole school environmental initiatives.
Parents and community members contribute to a thriving EcoTeam! There are several ways to get involved. For example, volunteer to organize an environmental campaign, provide technical support in areas of your expertise (e.g., landscaping design for school ground greening, website support for school webpage, etc.), or donate supplies. Please contact the lead teacher or principal at your school for specific ways you can participate.
Please note that each school needs to register and input the required documents by the dates above in order to be eligible for certification.
The Ontario EcoSchools program is free of charge for publicly funded schools. Information on private school certification costs can be found here.
Board representatives are notified of final standings once all school visits are completed and schools will be notified of their certification status before the end of school year. Schools without a board representative will be contacted directly. Once standings have been released, schools can sign in to their online application to read assessor feedback and review their assessment to celebrate and set goals for the next year.
In order to be eligible for Platinum certification, schools must meet the following requirements:
Schools that do not achieve the necessary requirements for Platinum certification will still certify at the Gold, Silver, or
Please see the 2017-18 Platinum Guide for more information.
Schools that are eligible for Platinum certification will be notified upon registration on the online application. If you think that you might be eligible for Platinum certification, but were not presented with this option upon registration, please contact your board representative or platinum (at) ontarioecoschools.org.