EcoSchools Newsletter April 2017

Stay connected--follow us on twitter and share your great environmental initiative s with us!  @EcoSchoolsTDSB
TDSB Earth Hour Saves Over 220,000 kWh of Electricity!

EcoSchools Section 
1, Question 1.6; Section 5, Questions 5.3, 5.5; Section 6 Questions 6.5, 6.6

Congratulations to everyone who participated  in Earth Hour -- our combined efforts resulted in our highest savings ever! There were two components to the Board's Earth Hour initiative.
  1. Schools and administration centres were asked to recognize Earth Hour on Friday, March 24th by reducing their electricity use between 2:00 and 3:00 pm.
  2. Caretakers were asked to make an extra effort to reduce electricity use from Friday evening to Monday morning.
As shown in the two graphs below, electricity consumption declined 28% from 2:00 to 3:00pm on Friday and 16% over the weekend. What does this really look like? Electricity consumption went down by 14,067 kWh for the one hour period on Friday afternoon, and 206,219 kWh over the weekend. *

The reduction in consumption of 220,826 kWh is equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 20 average Toronto homes or the amount of electricity a large 200 kW solar installation would produce in one year. It is amazing to see the positive impact we can have by working together! We encourage everyone to continue with your daily conservation efforts!

*The results are based on information from smart meters installed in 517 TDSB buildings. The quality of the data is excellent.
EarthPLAY for Earth Day 2017 and Get Outside Month in May!
EcoSchools Section 5, Questions 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, and 5.6, Section 6, Questions 6.5, & 6.6

Connecting Kids to Nature Through Play and Learning!

EarthPLAY for Earth Day!!    EarthPLAY is Earth Day Canada's new program that puts outdoor, unstructured free play back into the lives of children at school, in parks and on neighbourhood streets. Their EarthPLAY program for schools is called OPAL  (Outdoor Play and Learning) and is focused on making sure that we allot the time, space and materials needed for enriched outdoor play during recess, lunch, and after-school hours. 

Why does Earth Day Canada care so much, and why should you?

"Because kids who don't get outside, who aren't stimulated by their environment, won't grow up with any motivation to protect our planet.  And kids who don't connect to their inner nature through creative play won't be as resilient as generations before them".

Building on the theme for Earth Day 2017, May 2017, is the sixth annual Get Outside Month at the TDSB!  As always, there will be a theme-based, curriculum--connected activity each day in the month of May on the Toronto Outdoor Education Schools (TOES) website. These lessons, designed to support teachers teaching in the outdoors, will focus on inquiry, active citizenship, and making connections to the real world and are ideal for any school ground or local community. Stay in the loop and follow @TOES_TDSB on Twitter!

Inspired by Richard Louv's Last Child in the Woods, this exciting initiative encourages teachers to trade their classroom for the schoolyard to Take Learning Outdoors. According to Louv, "direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults".  

Why the focus on Get Outside? As the staff at any TDSB Outdoor Education Centre know, today's students are less connected to the world around them and have, generally speaking, less experience being outside than students from 15 or even 10 years ago. For today's "digital natives", the need to reconnect with the real world is great.  Green School Yard Network in the UK, offers 10 top benefits for outdoor classrooms  including shifting the focus of inquiry research from secondary to primary sources.  Check out all ten and GET OUTSIDE!

Don't forget to check out the Suzuki Foundation's 30x30 nature challenge - also taking place throughout the month of May!
Earth Week 2017: Community Events
EcoSchools Section 6, Questions 6.4, and 6.5

How do I Contribute to a Greener Planet? 

Calling all environmental champions!!  Trustee Manna Wong and the schools of Ward 20 would like to invite the community to attend their Eco Fair.  

This event will serve as an opportunity to inform and inspire people to make greener choices in their homes and communities and appreciate the great work of our young environmental stewards. Please join us in celebrating their leadership and validating their innovative ideas! The format will include, themed presentations, display booths, activities, trivia games, local environmental group displays, and a community BBQ (bring your refillable water bottle).
Date: Saturday, April 22nd, 2017
Time: 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Location: L'Amoreaux Collegiate Institute

EcoSchools Section 6, Questions 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6

School Communities as Agents of Change for Vibrant Cities

All are welcome to attend  Trustee Pamela Gough's Ward 3 Forum as she invites Gil Penalosa of to present on how school communities can be agents of change in creating vibrant cities.

Gil Penalosa is passionate about cities for all people. He has inspired and advised decision makers in more than 200 cities around the world on how to c reate healthy, vibrant, and sustainable communities for everyone regardless of age, gender, or social status. His focus is on the design and use of parks and streets as great public places, as well as sustainable mobility: walking, riding bicycles, taking public transit, and new uses of cars .

Date: Tuesday, April 25th, 2017
Time: 7:00pm
Location: Karen Kain School of the Arts - 60 Berl Avenue
Child minding craft party available for children 4-10.
Pre-register with

EcoSchools Section 3, Question 3.7; Section 5, Question 5.4, Section 6, Questions 6.5 

Recycle textiles and fundraise for your school!

In North America over 80% of textile waste is still disposed of in landfill yet it is almost 100%  recyclable. Bag2School is a TDSB approved free fundraising program that recycles unwanted textiles and supports school Eco-goals by diverting textile waste from landfill and helps educate students about the importance of reuse and recycling.  

Bag2School will help each school organize and advertise their collection free of charge.  On the collection date items are weighed at the school and a cheque is provided so the process is transparent and instant.  

To book a fundraiser or to learn more contact Bag2School at 416-762-9415 or

What's the buzz? Pollinating Partnerships: May, 31st

EcoSchools Section 6, Questions 6.3

Who has the best EcoSchools ideas?  What are your eco-victories this year? Join us as TDSB teachers share the benefits and challenges of environmental learning in their classrooms, and celebrate the success stories of EcoSchools' teams across Toronto.  This year-end Learning Carousel is open to all TDSB staff. 

Date: Wednesday, May 31st
Time: 4:30 - 6:30 pm
Where: OISE Library, 252 Bloor St. W
Questions: Contact
A light dinner is provided -- please bring your own dishware
Register on Key to Learn and searchPollinating Partnerships.

Bike to School Week: May, 29th - June 2nd

EcoSchools Section 6: Questions 6.2, 6.5

Let's get rolling!

Join students and teachers across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area to celebrate Bike to School Week, from May 29th to June 2nd, 2017. The week beginning on the last Monday of May has officially been declared the annual Bike to School Week at the TDSB.

About the event:

Bike to School Week
is a celebration of active transportation and biking and builds on the success of Bike Month (May 29th - June 30th). Schools participate in Bike to School Week by encouraging their students to walk and roll to school, and by holding events both inside and outside the classroom to promote the benefits of active transportation and biking. Visit the Getting Started web page for ideas on Safety activities in the classroom, and Safety and skills activities in the schoolyard.

Campaign incentives:

Be sure to register soon!  TDSB schools that register by Friday, May 5th, will be eligible to receive a large format Trip Tracking Poster with stickers. The tracking poster will help recognize students who bike to school and to count their trips. 

How schools register: visit the Bike to School week website and complete the registration form. *Schools that register their events and complete the school reporting survey by June 12th will receive a certificate of participation.

June 30th: Application deadline for FREE bike racks

Bike Rack Program
Increase sustainable transportation at your school with new bike racks! All schools are eligible to apply, but will have to demonstrate need and evidence of prior efforts to promote sustainable transportation.  For more details and to access the application form, visit the  EcoSchools Cycling Supports webpage.

Deadline to apply for bike racks:  June, 30th, 2017

Get ideas on how to build a program at your school that supports active, safe, and sustainable transportation among students and staff. From targeted communications to bike rodeos, there are many ways in which you can promote sustainable transportation within your school and community.

Questions? Contact Kristen Evers

Environmental Education AQ Courses: Part 1 & Part 2
EcoSchools Section 5: Questions 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, and 5.7

Need ideas for your EcoTeam? Want to connect with others dedicated to environmental learning?

OISE has partnered with the TDSB to offer Additional Qualification courses in Environmental Education this summer. To support EcoSchools teachers, the TDSB will subsidize $400 of the cost for a limited number of TDSB teachers who register and successfully complete the course! 

Environmental Education is central to teaching and learning in the 21st century; climate change, resource depletion, and environmental degradation are all pressing 
contemporary societal issues that require an educational response. This course provides an engaging introduction to teaching and learning in environmental education for both elementary and secondary teachers through a combination of lectures, workshops, outdoor and experiential learning, field trips and guest speakers.  It offers maximum flexibility for participants' learning needs through a blended course format (in-class and on-line hours).

Location: U of T, St. George campus
Class schedule:

10 days in class (July 4th - July 14th)

44 hours of online learning 

25 hours assignments and independent study  


Register for Part 1 or Part 2  with OISE by June 28th
Contact to ensure a spot on the TDSB subsidy list.

EcoSpark's Nature Academy Workshops 2017
EcoSchools Section 5: Questions 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, and 5.6
Learn how to integrate outdoor experiential learning into your everyday lessons!

EcoSpark's Nature Academy is a professional development program designed to support  teachers and connect environmental issues with hands-on learning opportunities in nearby  nature. Each workshop includes outdoor activities, many take away resources, plus 2 hours  of personal follow-up support so you can plan and implement your perfect project or lesson.

A subsidized rate is now available of $50 per workshop. EcoSchools is also providing release for weekday workshops for up to 20 TDSB teachers on a first-come, first-served basis. Register now to take advantage of these great subsidies!

The Air We Breathe - Friday, April 28th
The Water We Drink - Thursday, May 4th
Our Urban Pollinators - Saturday, May 13th

Questions: Contact  
Costa Rica 2018: Exploring Environmental Science and Sustainability

EcoSchools Section 5: Questions 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, and 5.6
Experiential Education for TDSB secondary students

Join other teachers and students of the TDSB in Costa Rica in March of 2018. In partnership with EF Education, EcoSchools has created a program tha t will empower youth to become environmental citizens through hands on learning oppo rtunit ies in Costa Rica. The 10 day program will provide students and educators the opportunity to do be involved in on-going research at La Selva Biological Reserve, participate in workshops on sustainable agriculture and bio-diversity at E.A.R.T.H University and visit the Kids Saving the Rainforest Sanctuary.
We know that students who participate in educational travel develop the necessary 21st century skills to become effective communicators, reflective thinkers, lifelong learners and responsible global citizens. We are excited about this unique program in Costa Rica that is just for our EcoSchools students and teachers.
For more information  or to get involved please contact Pam Miller (  or Brian Waller (

You can also visit the EF Educational Tours website  to view the program details.