EcoSchools Newsletter | Volume 10 Issue 4 | December 2017

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Dec 15th: Deadline to register for EcoSchools Certification
EcoSchools Section 1: Questions 1.1 and 1.3 

Attention EcoTeams!           
If you still ha v en't registered, do it NOW to be on the list for (re)certifying as an EcoSchool. It is quick  and painless! All you need is a contact name, role, TDSB email address, and a password th at's easy for other team members to remember.   If EcoSchools staff do not hear from your scho ol by December 15th , you will not be eligible to have an audit and become (re)certified this school year. Please join us!

To register (from a TDSB networked computer): Click here to go to the registration screen of the online Certification program. 

If you are trying to access the online application from home,  please visit our Register/Apply web page and follow the detailed instructions.
Questions? Contact Serita Lawson  or 416-396-3464
January 27th, 2018: Health, Wellness and Sustainability: FREE Environmental Education in Action Conference
EcoSchools Section 6: Questions 6.3 and 6.5

Register now for the 2nd Annual EcoSchools Conference!

This one day conference has been created with TDSB teachers and OISE graduate students in mind! It provides professional learning in Environmental Education to support the important work of the EcoSchools Program. A keynote talk, twenty interactive workshops, an EcoFair, and wellness refreshers will provide ideas, strategies, and resources for connecting health and wellness to Environmental Education in K-12 classrooms.

Registration  is FREE for TDSB employees, and lunch is included. 

When: Saturday, January 27th, 2018
Time: 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Where: OISE, University of Toronto, 252 Bloor St. West
Locations: OISE Auditorium (keynote), classrooms (workshops) & library (EcoFair)
Schedule: 9:00 am: Registration
9:30 - 10:30 am: Welcome, Keynote Speaker: Catherine O'Brien
10:45 am - 12:00 pm: Morning Workshops
12:00 - 2:00 pm: Lunch, EcoFair, and Wellness Refreshers
2:00 - 3:15 pm: Afternoon Workshops
3:30pm + Conference Social at the Duke of York Pub

Conference schedule and workshop details can be viewed here.

Additional questions? Contact Alysse Kennedy, Conference Coordinator at
EcoSchools Youth Leadership Conference for Secondary Schools

EcoSchools Section 1: Questions 1.1, 1.6; Section 5: Question 5.4 and 5.5; Section 6: Question 6.3

Attention Secondary EcoTeams!

Our planet and society have reached a critical time for action. We are now facing the results and impact of our over exploitation of the Earth's natural resources, as well as pollution and damage to its ecosystems. We are taking more from the Earth than it can provide or regenerate, and creating waste faster than the Earth can absorb it.
High school youth across Toronto have fresh ideas, limitless potential, and a deep concern for society and our planet. Given the opportunity, our youth can have great influence over positive and sustainable change in their schools and communities.
The 2018 EcoSchools Youth Leadership Conference is an opportunity to energize your school's EcoTeam team, build stronger leadership skills; explore concepts, ideas, and questions related to sustainability; and find ways to participate in solutions, even when solutions are not obvious or straightforward.
This year's program looks critically at waste issues and behaviour change in waste practices through student-led action. Waste is a growing problem locally and globally and has an enormous impact on social, economic and ecological systems. Schools will have opportunities to target a school or community specific waste issue (e.g., food, electronic, hazardous, landfills, consumption, diversion, pollution etc.) and design innovative action plans that catalyze their exceptional ideas.
Register now on Key to Learn! The conference is open to all TDSB Secondary Schools. We welcome teachers and their student teams - Maximum 5 students, 1 staff member per school. Teacher release is provided for ONE teacher per school.  Please note , schools are grouped to facilitate transportation options. If you cannot attend your scheduled day, you are welcome to sign up for an alternative session.

Humber College, North Campus (Schools west of Bayview)
  • Session A: Tuesday, Feb. 13 - LC1 - Wards 2, 6, 8, 11
  • Session B: Wednesday, Feb 14 - LC4 - Wards 3, 7, 9, 10, 14
  • Session C: Thursday, Feb 15 - LC1 & LC2 - Wards 1, 4, 5, 12
University of Toronto, Scarborough (Schools east of Bayview)
  • Session D: Tuesday, Feb. 20 - LC2 & LC3 - Wards 12, 17, 20, 21
  • Session E: Wednesday, Feb 21 - LC1 & LC3 - Wards 13, 19, 22
  • Session F: Thursday, Feb. 22 - LC4 & LC3 - Wards 15, 16, 18
  • Session G: Friday, Feb. 23 - Special Education Classes (all LC's)
Questions: Contact Serita Lawson
Project Refill Update

Please note for the 2017/18 school year we are not able to accept applications for Project Refill while the Water Refill Station we have been installing is getting a redesign by the manufacturer. We encourage schools to continue with their efforts to curb plastic water bottle usage, promote drinking water as a healthy option, and to educate their communities on local and global water issues.

We are very sorry for the delay and are committed to getting schools a filling station as soon as possible. 

Questions? Contact Jenn Vetter.
OISE / UofT Environmental and Sustainability Education Speaker Series
EcoSchools Sections 5: Questions 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, and 5.7 and Section 6: Questions 6.3 and 6.5

TDSB educators are invited to participate in OISE / UofT Environmental and Sustainability Education's Speaker Series. Be inspired by a wide range of topics and expertise broadening your knowledge of environmental and ecological literacy. Participating TDSB educators and OISE teacher candidates will have opportunities to deepen their EcoSchools network as well as meet and learn beside other passionate practitioners. 

Most events are free, however, TDSB staff please register on Key to Learn for each session.

Contact: Pam Miller at for more information.

Winter 2018 Events

Natural Curiosity: ESE in the Elementary Years
Presenter: Haley Higdon, Natural Curiosity
Date: Tuesday, January 9th
Time: 4.30 - 5:30 pm
Location: OISE Room 2-198, 252 Bloor St. W.
Embodied Thinking & Feeling Approaches to Environmental Education
Presenter: Christine Jackson, OISE Instructor/Retired TDSB Program Coordinator of The Arts
Date: Monday, January 15th
Time: 4:30 - 5:30 pm
Location: OISE Room 5-150, 252 Bloor St. W.

Growing Approaches to Environmental Art
Presenter: Hilary Inwood
Date: Tuesday, January 23rd
Time: 4.30 - 5:30 pm 
Location: OISE Library, 252 Bloor St. W.
January 19th, 2018: OPAL Symposium
EcoSchools Section 6: Questions 6.3 and 6.5

Earth Day Canada is working in partnership with the TDSB to bring enriched and diverse Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL) to 42 TDSB Schools over the next 3 years.

To find out more about the OPAL Pilot and the upcoming OPAL Symposium, visit:

Enriched outdoor play improves opportunities for inclusion, physical activity, creativity and problem solving. The OPAL program works to promote the benefits of play in schools and engages the school community to enhance the time for students to direct their own play and learning.

Join us on January 19th, 2018 to:
  • Learn about OPAL best practices from abroad with Michael Follett, OPAL U.K. Founder
  • Discover how the OPAL program is developing and expanding in the GTA with Brenda Simon, Director of Play Programs at Earth Day Canada
  • Hear first-hand experiences from TDSB teachers and principals from OPAL schools in the 2016/2017 pilot year.
Visit for more information about how Earth Day Canada is working to bring a  comprehensive play strategy to schools across Canada to support creative and diverse outdoor play  experiences, so children can explore their imaginations, their physicality, their friendships and the world around them.
Evergreen Workshops: Play and Learning in the Outdoors

EcoSchools Section 6: Questions 6.3 and 6.5

It's time to take your students outdoors! At this creative outdoor experience, Kindergarten - Grade 12 teachers and Early Childhood Educators will learn how to lead nature-focused and experiential teaching and learning. 

Evergreen's workshop series, Play and Learning in the Outdoors, will equip you with inquiry and play-based approaches that are easy to implement right away. You'll leave with curriculum-connected activities that will inspire you to get outside! 

F ind out how outdoor learning enhances physical and mental health, resiliency and social skills, and how these approaches directly support Ontario curriculum and education policies. 
At these workshops, you'll take part in innovative Outdoor Learning Labs that enrich your relationships with children and support both student and teacher well-being. At the end of the day, you'll leave with a certificate and a resource guide to help put your new lessons into action.

Location:  Evergreen Brick Works
Time: 8:30am - 3:30pm 
Cost: $110 each or $300 for all three workshops
Imaginative Games and Loose Parts Play (Part 1)
Workshop Dates: Friday, January 26th, March 23rd or May 11th

Storytelling and Creative Spaces (Part 2)
Workshop Dates: Friday, February 23rd, Monday, April 9th  or June 4th

The Benefits of Risk in Play (Part 3)
Workshop Dates: Friday, March 9th, April 20th or Monday, June 11th

For more information, please contact Paula Gallo at or 416-596-1495 x253.
Planet In Focus: EcoFilm Lab Workshops

EcoSchools Section 5: Questions 5.3, 5.4, 5.5 and 5.9; Section 6: Questions 6.4 and 6.5

A series of free workshops offered to educators to develop media literacy skills necessary to use film making in the classroom as a teaching tool. The Eco-Film Lab project culminates with the submission of student-generated environmentally themed short films to be submitted to the Planet in Focus Student Film Festival, to be held at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema on June 7th, 2018.

Registration is required on Key to Learn
Location: Toronto Urban Studies Centre at Danforth CTI - 800 Greenwood Ave.
*Participating teachers may be eligible for a 2-hour in-class workshop with a professional filmmaker to work directly with the students.

This series of workshops is designed to take you through film making techniques and the tools and equipment for shooting, recording sound and editing. For the purposes of teaching in the classroom, we will work with the iPad as a complete system for shooting and editing. Online resources for preparation will be provided in advance to educators to maximize the time and experience of the workshops. Sessions are scheduled to follow the film making process as you go along.

Session 1: Storytelling Through Film/Production Elements
Thursday, January 18th, 2018 4:30 - 5:30 p.m.

Session 2: Cinematography & Sound Basics
Thursday, February 1st, 2018 4:30 - 6:00 pm
Educators will need to bring an iPad with iMovie downloaded.

Session 3: Animation
Thursday, March 1st, 2018 4:30 - 6:00 pm
Educators will need to bring an iPad with iMovie downloaded.

Session 4: Intro to Editing/Storytelling Choices Through Editing
Thursday, March 22nd, 2018 4:30 - 6:00 pm

Session 5: Advanced Editing/Technical Elements of Editing & Sound
Thursday, April 5th, 2018 4:30 - 6:00 pm
Educators will need to bring an iPad with iMovie downloaded.
School Garden Workshop for Administrators
EcoSchools Section 6: Question 6.5

Growing School Gardens: Best Practices for Sustainable Success

At this workshop for Principals and Vice Principals, Leila will discuss best practices found through research and more than four years of practical experience in building successful and sustainable school gardens with minimal budget and time. The aim of providing a school food gardening program is to connect students to the natural origin of their food, promote healthy eating, and connect gardens to the curriculum. In doing this, students are fully engaged in building, maintaining and harvesting food and learning how to grow it in the most possible experiential way, empowering them to spend time outside and engage with their communities.

Date: Tuesday, January 16th, 2018
Time: 8:45 am - 12:00 pm
Location: York University, 4700 Keele St. Health Nursing & Environmental Studies Building (HNES) Room # 141
Cost: $75 (Early Bird fee of $49 until December 19th) 

EcoSchools Section 3: Question 3.7; Section 5: Question 5.5; Section 6: Question 6.5 

Too much of our waste is going to landfill!

Estimates show that Ontario generates 500,000 tonnes of clothing and textile waste every year and that number is growing rapidly. 85% of used textiles are ending up in the landfill even though textiles are almost 100% recyclable.
Much of this textile waste takes years to decompose emitting harmful chemicals into the atmosphere and leaching into the soil causing significant contamination for decades. 

Bag2School is a TDSB approved free fundraising program that recycles unwanted textiles (including un-wearable clothing that is torn, ripped or stained) and supports school Eco-goals by diverting textile waste from landfill and raises valuable fundraising dollars for your EcoClub or school!  

Hosting a clothing drive in January is a great way for families to recycle textiles after the busy holiday season and to help raise awareness of the importance of recycling.

To book or for more information call 416-762-9415 or email or book online at 

Picture 2050 -- Imagine Toronto in the year 2050
EcoSchools Section 1: Question 1.6, Section 6: Question 6.5

#Picture2050 is a contest for citizen photographers inspired by Toronto's Climate Plan.  Imagine Toronto in the year 2050. What does a caring and climate-friendly city of the future look like to you? 

T o build the kind of city we want, we need to imagine it.  Submit up to 3 photos that represent the Toronto you would like to see in 2050. Each picture submitted is a building block of the future city that we will bring to life together.

Show us your stories and the things that inspire you. Capture actions, events, people, places - anything that you feel is helping Toronto become a better city by 2050.

Picture2050 is organized by the Toronto Climate Action Network (TCAN) and sponsored by The Atmospheric Fund (TAF).

This contest is inspired by TransformTO, the City's plan to mitigate climate change and build a healthy, equitable and prosperous Toronto. This plan was unanimously approved by City Council in July 2017 and now needs funding to be approved by Council in February 2018.

Deadline for submissions: January, 12th, 2018
Guidelines are available on the Picture2050 website
Categories: Kids' Award - Ages 11 and under, Youth Award - Ages 12 to 17, and the Adult Award - Ages 18 and over

Ontario Envirothon: Building Green Leaders
EcoSchools Section 1: Question 1.6, Section 5: Question 5.6

The Ontario Envirothon isn't just an education program - it's a team-based competition for high school students who love the environment and the outdoors. It is an incubator for the environmental leaders of tomorrow, designed to prepare students for future green careers. Through the Ontario Envirothon students get outdoors and explore key environmental science concepts and skills and complete against their peers. One team is invited to move on to the provincial competition where they compete against the top ranked teams from more than 15 other regional Envirothons.

Another exciting Toronto Envirothon season has almost arrived and we hope your school will join us.  Register before February 19th, 2018 and receive the early bird rate of $280 (taxes included) per team! Looking to offset those registration costs? Check-out the Ontario Envirothon Fundraising Package for tips to help crowd source funds.

Important Toronto Envirothon Dates:

Toronto Workshop Day - April 6th at York University
Toronto Competition Day - April 18th at Ontario Science Centre

For more information about the Envirothon program visit