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Successful Recipients of the ESD Grants for 2018

This year 22 schools were awarded ESD grants with amounts up to $2000 each. These winning projects included a wide variety of sustainability-inspired initiatives. Some schools proposed plans to further student engagement in greening projects, while others sought creative solutions that benefit the students, school and community.

Dakota Collegiate: The Dakota Bike Shop

The Dakota Bike Shop will encourage sustainable and affordable transportation, and healthy living through active transportation by bicycle. Students will develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary to maintain their own bicycle equipment as well as building and maintaining bikes for people in the Louis Riel School Division community who need assistance, such as low-income and newcomer families.

East Selkirk Middle School: Bee Active Project

Due to the use of pesticides and herbicides, bee populations are decreasing at an alarming rate. Apiculture at school will allow students to view bees in action and create an awareness of the importance of bees for our environment and their role in food sustainability. The students will research, problem solve, present and participate in a real-life environmental project while exploring the business side of agriculture through honey production and sales.

École Charleswood School: Courtyard Renewal Project

The Courtyard Renewal Project is a multi-grade level project aiming to create an eco-friendly and sustainable outdoor environment for all students. Designed, created and maintained by the activity of the Eco and Gardening Clubs, this outdoor learning space will include a garden, student-built picnic tables, compost area and self-sustaining water system.

École James Nisbet Community School: Community Prairie Gardens and Ecosystem

Headed by the EnviroClub, this project will see an unused space between portable classrooms converted into an interactive and interpretive prairie plant garden. This project will provide biodiversity to the schoolyard and promote more outdoor learning for classrooms. In the evenings and during weekends, families and the community will be encouraged to learn about Manitoba's native plants while enjoying the school's nature spaces.

École La Verendrye: Club Eco-Vert

As part of a school-wide initiative, the Grade 5 and 6 Club Eco-Vert will acquire holding bins for moving compost to the vermicomposting bins and build an outdoor three-bin composting system. The senior green team students will go on a field trip to learn how to construct compost bins from old pallets. Through community plant swaps, gardening parties, harvesting parties, a ladybug release party and many more events, the school will share their learnings on how to reduce ecological and economic footprints by reducing waste and upcycling.

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Elmwood High School: Rods and Reels Program

Rods and Reels is an angling program intended to target a cohort of 20-25 Grade 7 and 8 at-risk students who will participate in a workshop series led by Grade 10-12 mentor students. The workshops will include topics such as the mental health benefits and cultural relevance of connecting with nature while disconnecting from technology, the use of fishing as a medium for anxiety reprieve, and the importance of sustainable fishing practices and nutrition. These workshops will build excitement and aptitude for planned fishing excursions later in the school year.

Elwick Community School: “If You We build it, They We will...Learn” (Creating an Outdoor Classroom Space for Sustainable Learning at Elwick Community School)

The school will create an outdoor classroom to provide a gathering place for students, staff and the community. Indigenous teachings will be incorporated into all phases of the project (planning, building and eventually sharing the space). This will reflect their school community and support their school-wide belief statement for their students and staff to take care of themselves, each other, their place (their school) and their world. The vegetation will provide the school and community with a sustainable source for vegetables, native Manitoba plants and indigenous medicinal plants to support learning around nutrition, agriculture, culture, history and ecology.

Frontenac School: Community Kitchen Tower Garden

The school will purchase a tower garden for our community kitchen. Classroom teachers, family centre coordinators, daycare and nursery school staff and the community liaison worker will all schedule a turn to grow and harvest plants in the tower garden. The community connector and families working in the community kitchen will join with students and their families to prepare and share meals using the produce grown in the tower garden. Students will develop an appreciation for planting, harvesting and utilizing fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers they have grown themselves.

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H.C. Avery Middle School: H.C. Avery Middle School Farm

H.C. Avery Middle School’s Farm is a collaborative learning project for students, educators, parents and the surrounding community to connect to the earth and to each other. Members of the extracurricular farm club participate in the whole process of food from seed to table. For this upcoming season, the farm club members hope to improve their practices in cultivation and harvest, and to expand the farm in both physical growing space (900 ft2 to 1800 ft2) and outreach into the school population and surrounding community. Grant funds will be used to purchase organic materials to expand the farm, personal protective equipment and tools to make the farm more accessible, and cultivation materials to manage growing conditions on the farm better.

Isaac Newton School: School Garden and Outdoor Classroom

This project will expand the school’s outdoor garden and courtyard creating a diversity of spaces for outdoor social interactions and learning opportunities. Students will collaborate in the creation of a landscaping design that will encourage the breaking down of barriers in order to build an inclusive school community (promoting physical and social accessibility). They will help to build, plant and maintain the outdoor garden and classroom, and promote the project through an awareness campaign. The outdoor classroom will be used for a variety of purposes (e.g. smudging, observation, research and journaling) helping to build a culture where mental health and well-being are embedded into every student’s school experience.

Juniper School: Juniper’s ‘Berry Good’ Gardens

Juniper School students, led by the school-based green team club, will be involved in building three additional 4 X 8 raised garden boxes alongside the existing raspberry garden box. The students will plant haskap berries, rhubarb, strawberries and additional plants (trying various plants for viability testing in the short season and harsh climate of the north). The project will use compost created by the school. Students will also learn about making jams and jellies from their harvest.

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Lord Selkirk Education Centre: Community Herb and Root Vegetable Garden

Students of the Lord Selkirk Education Centre will design and build up to six outdoor planters. As most of their students are at-risk, it is important to ensure that the school is providing these students with the opportunity to learn and to apply skills that provide real-world experiences. The planters will be student designed within a set of prescribed parameters including portability, cost, water management and required growing room. Students will plan and research the types of plants that they will plant using the limits of the planters. With the guidance of a community elder, students will plant and harvest the vegetables and learn how to use the vegetables in healthy recipes. Part of this project will be to develop an ongoing supply of sage and sweet grass to use and distribute to schools throughout the Lord Selkirk School Division. Excess food will be shared with the Selkirk Food Bank that provides the school with food for their students on a weekly basis.

Maples Met School: Maples Met School Outdoor Education Supply Kit

Maples Met School is a project-based learning school that places experiential learning as a key pillar in its mission statement and philosophy of education. The school will use the grant funds to acquire equipment to support their outdoor education programming and fieldwork related to eco-literacy. The project will enable their learners and faculty to connect directly to the land through their research questions and through interacting with the land itself. Many of their learners are adversely affected by poverty. As such, they would not be able to access non-urban experiences of this nature if they were tasked with outfitting themselves.

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Miles Macdonell Collegiate: Miles Macdonell Collegiate Earth Month

The funds will be used for a variety of school-wide ESD initiatives to help students acquire the knowledge, skills, values and life practices that contribute to a sustainable future. The Positive School Wide Behaviour Group will launch a behaviour matrix program providing incentives for students that make sustainable choices at school. Climate Change Connection will host the school's third annual Earth Day event on April 24th. Miles Macdonell Collegiate Earth Month will cumulate with a TA Challenge where all Teacher Advisor Groups in the school will develop a plan for a sustainability-related initiative that can be implemented in school prior to the end of the school year. The student ESD group will review each of these submissions and implementation of the winning entry will be supported by this grant.

Rivers Collegiate: Rivers Wetland Learning Centre of Excellence

Rivers Wetland Learning Centre of Excellence offers a nature-based program and facility where high school students learn about wildlife, local uplands plant life, wetland aquatic life, and the overall local environment. The students also develop leadership and teaching skills while instructing elementary-aged students. Building on the community's health and tourism initiatives, another central goal of the project is to plan, prepare and open the facility to the larger public reigniting a sense of wonder about nature in the local context. This grant will help support the work of high school students at Rivers Collegiate in providing wetland eco-tours for Grade 4 students; extending the wetland boardwalk; and adding floors, seating and tables to the outdoor classroom built in 2017.

Rossburn Elementary School: Healthy Me = Healthy We

The Healthy Me = Healthy We initiative supports the school’s Comprehensive School Health Committee that includes student representatives, teachers, administration, parents and community members working to improve the following areas: Healthy Eating; Active Living; and Positive Social/Emotional Environments. The grant will be used to build three more raised garden beds (so there will be one for each home room); creation and marketing of a year-end recipe book (addressing healthy eating themes); and building of a Kindness Rock Garden (leave and take a rock painted with kind sayings to promote students’ compassion for each other).

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Sisler High School: Sisler's Green Space and Outdoor Classroom

The student co-chairs of Sisler’s Sustainability Circle (SSC- a student-led group focused on helping the environment through recycling, composting and gardening) along with the teacher advisors are planning to transform Sisler High’s underutilized west courtyard into a garden that can also be used as a place of gathering, learning and exploring sustainability for staff and students. By incorporating student design, construction and art, this garden will become a place where the personal values and beliefs integral to the school’s cultural identity will be highlighted.

St. Alphonsus School: School-wide Composting and Education Initiative

The grant will be utilized to implement school-wide composting (including vermicomposting within the classrooms). The Green Action Centre will train a staff member team as master composters. A team of students will be trained by the master composters to serve as assistant trainers when the entire student population is educated on compositing and to monitor the school composting program. The school will invite students’ families for an evening presentation about composting. Following the presentation, master composters will visit homes of families to support their composting start-ups so that composting will continue as a sustainable development focus at school and the surrounding community.

Victory School: Victory School’s Green Space Project

The grant will provide funds to restore and further develop the green spaces at Victory School. The four gardens at the school (Front Garden, Sarah’s Garden, Butterfly Garden and Giving Garden) have been providing their students and community with valuable learning experiences and a connection to nature. Some of their gardens are old and need repair. The existing garden boxes in the Butterfly Garden will be replaced. In the past a large percentage of their gardens were filled with annuals. In order to create a more sustainable garden they will plant perennials that attract butterflies and are native to the region (well-adapted to hot summers, cold winters and poor soil conditions).

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Waldheim School: Healthy Foods to Grow Healthy Minds and Bodies

The grant will be used to set-up a small greenhouse so that the students can start some of the plants for the community garden and flowers for the school grounds rather than purchasing seedlings. With the help of community and parent volunteers, students will be able to take part in the complete process from seed to harvest. Students have been involved in planning all aspects of the project including site selection, plant selection, composting, vermicomposting and deciding to donate surplus produce to the local food banks. Students will also be able to use the greenhouse for some of their science experiments related to plants. Once this project is operational, the results will be shared with other Hutterian schools in order to encourage their own sustainable development projects.

Warren Collegiate Institute: Warren Collegiate Institute Project-based Learning Environmental Action Project

In the 2018-19 school year, Grade 10 teachers at Warren Collegiate will collaborate on a co-curricular project including two-four subject areas. Students, using a guided discovery learning model, will research a topic and come up with an action plan. The plan will be presented to a panel of educators and peers for evaluation, and then an external real-life audience (parent-teacher night, community or government group). Local and school media will be engaged to promote the environmental action project. Select students will be encouraged to take their plan a step further to attempt to make real change and/or to apply for bursaries, awards, scholarships and contests. Students will also share what they have learned with younger students (in partnership with feeder schools). The grant will fund teacher release time, professional development, teaching and learning resources, and travel to accommodate this project.

West Kildonan Collegiate – Sustainable Living Academy: Making a Difference: One Project at a Time

The Sustainable Living Academy Manitoba (SLAM) is a new half-day program for grade 11 and 12 students to explore in-depth topics in sustainability, social justice, environmental conservation and culture through mentorship, project-based learning and community connections. The grant will be used to support the three main projects of SLAM for 2018. “Creating Places for Welcome and Lived Integration” is a partnership between the SLAM students, Professor Dietmar Straub of U of M (Faculty of Architecture) and the 3rd year Environmental Design students exploring conservation of Winnipeg greenspaces for generations to come through design. “Growing Food for our Community” is a circle garden at the school. Last year, this garden grew an 800-year-old variety of Indigenous squash, other vegetables, sacred medicines and herbs. This year, SLAM would like to add a miniature wheat field and harvest the wheat for fresh bread in the fall. “Reconnecting SLAM Students to Nature” is a place-based learning project with field trips to Bannock Point Petroforms and Brokenhead Wetland Interpretive Trail.

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