Toronto and Region Conservation Authority – The Weston Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow Program

Project Leads: Darryl Gray & Nancy McGee,

THE NEED

The Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow is a unique program that currently provides an innovative learning experience for eligible students at specific school boards across Ontario. This curriculum-based program is geared towards a grade six level and supports students from priority neighbourhoods who would otherwise not be able to afford such an important and valuable experience. Targeted schools are ones that meet specific criteria of priority, either set by the school board, or other organization, related to economic, social, educational or other criteria.

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow

The program utilizes a multi-phase, integrated approach to environmental education, in which classroom learning is combined with an overnight trip to one of Toronto and Region Conservation’s (TRCA) outdoor centres, or a partner centre.  This approach allows for the integration of concepts, deepening of knowledge, and development of skills that enhance learning about the natural world.  Upon returning home, students are inspired and challenged to translate their new knowledge into action – moving beyond learning to doing!

TRCA1

 

Parkdale Junior & Senior Public School, Toronto, Ontario

Community Gardens Project

TRCA2

TRCA

Fundamental to this program are the three ‘knowledge-to-action’ pillars: ecological literacy (LEARN), environmental leadership (LEAD), and community action (TAKE ACTION!). By weaving these core program themes throughout all phases of the Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow program, students receive a fully integrated, curriculum-based, multi-disciplinary experience.

The Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow program maximizes the potential for student success both in the classroom and in the community.  The ultimate goal of this program is to inspire students to be leaders and take action in their local schoolyard or community.

Visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7-pjSaACkU   to see what participants have to say about the program.

The Results

Since launching in 2007, students have undertaken 4651 personal action projects. These projects can include starting an eco-club, greening school grounds or mentoring other students about environmental issues.

Impact on the Environment

Through analysis of student data collected during all three program phases via the Eco-footprint Challenge Worksheet in 2013, we have learned that during the duration of the program, students had the following impact on the environment:

253,058 L – Amount of water conserved by students taking shorter showers

2,053 kg – Amount of waste diverted from landfills by students composting organic waste at home

1,716 kg – Amount of C02 reduced by students walking or cycling to school

471 kg – Amount of greenhouse gas emissions reduced by students choosing local foods when shopping with their families

394 kg – Amount of waste (at school) reduced by students bringing a waste-free lunch to school

 

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