Three Manitoulin schools gain special EcoSchools certifications

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SUDBURY––Rainbow District School Board is one of the fastest growing school boards in Ontario to receive EcoSchools certifications in the 2017-2018 school year. Since 2013, the number of EcoSchools certifications among Rainbow Schools has increased 300 percent.

This year, 20 schools received EcoSchools certfications: A.B. Ellis Public School, Adamsdale Public School, Alexander Public School, C.R. Judd Public School, Central Manitoulin Public School, Chelmsford Public School, Copper Cliff Public School, Espanola High School, Levack Public School, Little Current Public School, MacLeod Public School, Manitoulin Secondary School, Markstay Public School, Monetville Public School, R.L. Beattie Public School, R.H. Murray Public School, S. Geiger Public School, Sudbury Secondary School, Valley View Public School and Walden Public School.

The certification recognizes achievement in six key areas: Teamwork and Leadership, Energy Conservation, Waste Minimization, School Ground Greening, Ecological Literacy and Environmental Stewardship.

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“We are extremely proud of our schools and the work being done to make green a vibrant part of our Rainbow,” said Director of Education Norm Blaseg. “Certification to this standard speaks volumes about the great initiatives undertaken by students and staff to support sustainability throughout the Board.”

“The Ontario EcoSchools program provides students with the knowledge, skills, perspectives and practices they need to become environmentally responsible citizens,” he added.

This year, Central Manitoulin Public School earned gold in their EcoSchools certification. Students enjoy planting the school vegetable gardens. Herbs and peppers are grown in a classroom throughout the winter. A salmon hatchery was maintained by the Grade 5 class. Fish developed from eggs to fingerlings were released into a stream in M’Chigeeng this past spring. A Grade 5 classroom is home to a vermicomposter, which converts organic waste to soil for plants around the school. Some 100 litterless lunch containers were provided to students through funds from environmental organizations such as Learning for a Sustainable Future. Students have enthusiastically led many of these initiatives, including organizing composting, fish farming, recycling and gardening.

The Little Current Public School GoGreen Club is a group of 23 staff and students who meet weekly to work on environmental initiatives. Some include recycling activities, adding GOOS (Good On One Side) paper bins to classrooms, morning announcements, and challenges such as Sweater Day, Earth Hour, Litterless Lunches and energy conservation. Club members created bird feeders for the schoolyard. They also spearhead a gardening program, with some food donated to the Grow-a-Row program. Students take part in annual Earth Day events, eco workshops and community clean-ups. Club members participated in the 4Elements World Water Day workshop in Kagawong. Grade 4 students were involved in a pedometer challenge inspired by Autumn Peltier and her work to protect water.

Delicious garden vegetables grown in the courtyard at Manitoulin Secondary School is among the initiatives that led staff and students to certified gold status with EcoSchools. More seating, shade and native species are being added to the school grounds. The school’s composting program is improving and expanding every day. Students are recycling batteries and hosted an e-waste collection in the spring. New GOOS (Good On One Side) bins have been added to all classrooms and work areas. Students take part in an annual Earth Day cleanup as well as a day of tree planting. The entire school community also enjoys taking part in board-wide environmental challenges each month.

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