The six sections of the Ontario EcoSchools program act as a road map to identify areas where students can take action. EcoTeams can pick and choose what they would like to implement throughout the school year, connecting environmental learning with daily practices. All six sections promote student engagement, take place during the school year, and are within the realm of student influence.
Teamwork and Leadership is all about building strong EcoTeams and developing effective school-wide communications.
EcoTeams should include student and adult representation to ensure all voices are heard and for ease of organizing. We recommend implementing school-wide communications via regular meetings, displays, and assemblies. You can foster student leadership through planning and implementing actions and campaigns.
Energy Conservation is an action-oriented section focuses on daily practices to reduce school energy consumption.
Some ideas: Turn off lights and equipment in classrooms and throughout the school when not in use. Conserve heating and air conditioning through simple practices such as closing the blinds. Monitor daily practices and share results with the whole school.
Waste Minimization is centred on cutting down on waste, while tracking and reporting on progress to the whole school.
Reduce waste through initiatives such as Waste-Free lunches, composting, and online communications. Reuse through systems like Good On One Side (GOOS) paper trays, swap shops, and upcycling. And of course, recycle paper and containers school-wide.
School Ground Greening engages students in creating vibrant, rich environments for learning on school grounds.
Students plan, implement, or maintain a greening project such as an outdoor classroom or school garden. Strive to increase biodiversity by planting native species and trees to create a healthy ecosystem and habitat. Use the greening project for out-of-classroom learning to enrich students’ education.
Curriculum integrates environmental learning in and outside of the classroom.
An “In, About, For the Environment” approach develops a sense of place, instructs how nature works, and encourages environmental advocacy. Classroom lessons with environmental learning outcomes and off-site field trips bring about valuable learning opportunities.
Environmental Stewardship fosters whole school campaigns on specific environmental issues.
This section fosters environmental learning that has clear and well-communicated connections to an environmental issue. Students can connect learning to an action that involves the whole school community. Stewardship goes ‘above and beyond’ other sections of the program and does not replicate campaigns from other sections.