Etobicoke Outdoor Education Centre - Download (10K 9/29/2009)
As a part of its own programming, Etobicoke Outdoor Education Centre allots both time and space for EcoSchools. The EcoTeam at the Centre consists of all staff—the site supervisor, outdoor education specialists, teachers, and head woodsman. They give EcoSchools their support in a number of ways: EcoSchools items are a regular agenda item at all staff meetings; the school improvement plan records EcoSchools goals; and an EcoSchools bulletin board provides up-to-date information to teachers from visiting schools. The staff even performs an EcoSkit about water or energy conservation for each school. Apparently it’s quite a spectacle—and a good reminder that environmental education can be fun!
At the Centre, the culture of conservation is apparent in many ways: there is little or no lunchtime waste, in their work, staff try to minimize waste and conserve water and they actively practice repairing and reusing instead of throwing away and buying new! It’s exemplary role-modelling by people whose values shine through their work.
Students who visit the Centre are proud to leave with the Ecological Footprint Certificates they have earned at the bronze, silver, and gold levels and the bookmarks that list ideas for conserving at home and school. And to help make the learning about composting and waste reduction more memorable, the incentive of extra dessert doesn’t hurt
The Centre’s promotion of EcoSchools extends beyond its own school site. They highlight it on their website. During Earth Week activities, the staff supported EcoSchools by serving as guest speakers. They encouraged student participation and mentored student leaders in their work with Windfields Junior High School GreenTeam. Staff visits to schools both before and after the program at the Centre influence classroom teachers’ programs, so that continued ecological learning is given a boost well beyond the students’ stay.
What is absolutely the most impressive achievement of the Etobicoke Outdoor Education Centre is the positive impact that the 2 and 1/2 days’ experience at the Centre has on the students who participate in the ecological learning offered there. In many cases, attitudes are changed forever, and responsible stewardship is born.
Congratulations on your spirited work and on earning platinum certification!