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Eco Schools celebrate Earth Day

Grade 5 students at Notre Dame CES in Newmarket will be recognized as Eco School champions and formally acknowledged at York Region’s special Earth Day event on April 20.

The event will be held at the Emergency Medical Services building in East Gwillimbury, and will also include a tour of this facility, which is a LEED gold certified building. There will also be a presentation about the environment and 4 interactive workshops about public transit, ‘nature’s classroom,’ recycling and bicycle safety.

The day also consists of a nature hike, where students will be actively involved in tree and shrub planting at a reforestation project area.
Eco Schools is a province-wide environmental education and certification program for Grades K-12 that help school communities become more environmentally responsible and reduce the environmental footprint of school buildings. To apply to be an Eco School, staff and students must complete five steps:
1. Establish a school EcoTeam made up of staff, students and volunteers;
2. Conduct an EcoReview, to determine what the school is doing well and what needs improvement
3. Develop an action plan
4. Implement the action plan, and
5. Monitor and evaluate its progress.
Many schools throughout the York Catholic District School Board are certified Eco Schools, or working on their Eco School certifications. Our Lady Help of Christians CES in Richmond Hill is a gold certified Eco School. As part of its Eco School team initiative, classrooms were recently challenged to create 3D structures made solely from recyclable materials.

To meet this challenge, students spent a couple of weeks, collecting garbage and recycled materials to demonstrate how much of each are generated. The Eco team thought this would be a fun way to ‘make’ students see recycled material differently.

The resulting 3D structures were extremely creative. Each classroom also named their structure and made a list of the materials used. The structures were displayed in the school’s front foyer, as a reminder of the importance of recycling and practicing environmental sustainability.