Ontario EcoSchools is an environmental education and certification program for grades K-12 that helps school communities develop both ecological literacy and environmental practices to become environmentally responsible citizens and reduce the ecological footprint of schools.The key areas of achievement are: Teamwork & Leadership, Energy Conservation, Waste Minimization, School Ground Greening, Curriculum and Environmental Stewardship.
Principal Nicole Miller and her devoted green team of staff and students clearly have a passion for the environment and love utilizing all teachable moments that arise to help one another learn how to keep Mother Earth nourished for generations to come. Armed with motivation from last year's EcoSchools Silver Medal and the energy and enthusiasm of 250+ students, HA Halbert is determined to achieve a Gold Medal standing this year. And we have no doubt that they'll attain it!
Displayed proudly on their website, their Eco Club seems to immerse everyone in its green culture, as its initiatives are often school-wide and allow each student to truly embody the steward in stewardship! So it was no surprise that through their partnership with The Carbon Farmer, they wanted to ensure that every student was able to virtually plant their very own tree in the HA Halbert Junior Public School Eco Forest! Talk about student engagement! Thanks to contributions from caring students, parents, staff and community members, each pupil was given a planting code, which we learned caused quite the excitement once students realized that they were going to be able to help make the school's forest grow.
As every virtual tree seen online mirrors a real life tree that is planted by The Carbon Farmer to help create a flourishing forest in Canada's boreal region, this eco-exercise provided parents and teachers with an easy opportunity to teach the students about the ways in which their tree planting significantly aids in the restoration of habitat for the native species of plants and animals that call the boreal forest home. HA Halbert's principal said it was so rewarding to see students' eyes light up when their tree was in the 'ground' and she felt that being able to utilize the createyourforest.ca gameified platform presented students with a fun way to learn about the importance of conserving our ecosystems while simultaneously giving them a tool to make a real environmental impact. She further noted that the conversations that arose from student participation in creating the HA Halbert Forest fit seamlessly alongside the science curriculum objectives that focus on promoting environmental awareness, allowing staff to breathe easier too-Who knew those oxygen-producing trees would have such an immediate impact?!
What's even more encouraging about the HA Halbert team is that they recognize the importance of comprehensively examining how we function within our everyday systems such as a school and in an effort to uncover as many ways as possible to minimize the negative impacts they have on the environment, they have in turn discovered multiple ways to maximize the positive means of preserving our planet. Just a few of the other ways that HA Halbert is caring for the environment we all share include: turning off classroom lights on sunny days to conserve electricity usage; making their own paper from recycled materials; composting organic material with worms; going on nature walks and bringing sketch pads to encourage nature appreciation; building bird nests and tracking the birds' food preference; designing and building an eco-friendly Kindy Playground; and creating bitstrips to promote energy conservation. To learn more about this incredible school and all of their eco-initiatives, please visit their website at: http://schoolweb.tdsb.on.ca/hahalbert/ExtracurricularActivities/EcoClub.aspx
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