EcoSchools Newsletter | Volume 10 Issue 5 | January 2018

Stay connected--follow us on twitter and share your great environmental initiatives with us
January 27th: 2nd Annual EcoSchools Conference
EcoSchools Section 6: Questions 6.3 and 6.5

Register now for the 2nd Annual EcoSchools Conference! Registration deadline is Sunday, January 21st.

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
Wednesday, February 7th is Winter Walk Day across Canada
EcoSchools Section 6: Questions 6.2 and 6.5

It's winter! Don't hibernate walk to school and celebrate!

Walk to school for daily physical activity, a healthier environment, safer streets, making friends and ... having fun! Can't walk to school? Hold a Winter Walk Day during school, walk to the local skating rink for a skate or hold a Winter carnival in the school yard at lunch. 

Register your school's Winter Walk Day event to receive a Certificate of Participation from Canada Walks. 

Schools can share their Winter Walk Day experiences on Twitter using the hashtag #walktoschool.
February 16th - 19th: The Great Backyard Bird Count
EcoSchools Section 5: Question 5.6 and Section 6: Question 6.5

Help create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds around the world!
Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time.

Scientists use information from the Great Backyard Bird Count, along with observations from other citizen-science projects, such as the Christmas Bird CountProject FeederWatch, and eBird, to get the "big picture" about what is happening to bird populations. The longer these data are collected, the more meaningful they become in helping scientists investigate far-reaching questions, like these:
  • How will the weather and climate change influence bird populations?
  • Some birds, such as winter finches, appear in large numbers during some years but not others. Where are these species from year to year, and what can we learn from these patterns?
  • How will the timing of birds' migrations compare with past years?
  • How are bird diseases, such as West Nile virus, affecting birds in different regions?
  • What kinds of differences in bird diversity are apparent in cities versus suburban, rural, and natural areas?
Getting started:
  1. Create a free GBBC account.
  2. Count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the GBBC.
  3. Enter your results on the GBBC website by clicking the "Submit Observations" tab on the home page. You may also download the free eBird Mobile app to enter data on a mobile device.
Keep counting throughout the year with eBird, which uses the same system as the Great Backyard Bird Count to collect, store, and display data any time, all the time.

February 17th - 24th: Talk Energy Week
EcoSchools Section 5: Question 5.4; Section 6: Question 6.5

Left in the dark? 

Energy is required for everything we do in our daily lives, even though we don't always realize the services it provides. Let's Talk Energy is an education initiative run by the Canada Science and Technology Museum that strives to enhance energy and climate awareness among Canadians to contribute to a sustainable energy future.

A key part of their programming each year is Talk Energy Week (February 17th - 24th)
In partnership with museums, schools, and environmental NGOs focusing on energy, programming this year focuses on the themes of clean technology and renewable energy in remote and northern Indigenous communities. 

Visit their website for energy games and resources for learners of all ages, including new climate change info-graphics for K-12 and lesson plans for Grades 7-10. This year connect with a live stream panel talk featuring Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna on February 13th.

OISE / UofT Environmental and Sustainability Education Speaker Series
EcoSchools Section 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:

Growing Approaches to Environmental Art
Presenter: Hilary Inwood
Date: Tuesday, January 23rd
Time: 4.30 - 5:30 pm 
Location: FE 134, 371 Bloor St. West

What Rubbish! Shifting Students' Behaviour to Waste
Presenter: Pam Miller
Date: Thursday, February 1st
Time: 4.30 - 5:30 pm
Location: OISE Room 5-150, 252 Bloor St. W.
Making Cross Curricular Connections for Environmental Learning
Presenters:  Paul Hackl and Karen Stelling
Date: Monday, February 5th
Time: 4:30 - 5:30 pm
Location: OISE Room 5-150, 252 Bloor St. W.
March 28th & 29th: FREE Professional Learning Institute for Secondary Educators
EcoSchools Sections 5: Questions 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, and 5.5

Climate Change Challenges: Educators Exploring the Opportunities

two day focused PD experience for TDSB secondary teachers. LSF will facilitate collaborative knowledge-building and help educators to pursue the knowledge and skills that will position them to be effective facilitators of climate change learning. 

Throughout the two days, we will walk the talk and model inquiry methodology. 
  • Grade 9-12 teachers who wish to explore climate change challenges and opportunities and learn how authentic inquiry is being applied to address expectations in geography, science, environmental science and other subjects.
  • School administrators and system leaders who wish to support transformative inquiry-based learning for engaged citizenship.
Dates: Thursday, March 28th and Friday, March 29th
Location: West Education Office, 1 Civic Centre Court
Time: 8:30 am - 3:30 pm
Cost: FREE for TDSB staff ($350 cost is being covered by the TDSB Sustainability Office)
Questions: Contact Pam Miller
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 2: Cinematography & Sound Basics
Thursday, February 1st, 4:30 - 6:00 pm
Educators will need to bring an iPad with iMovie downloaded.

Session 3: Animation
Thursday, March 1st, 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, 4:30 - 6:00 pm

Session 5: Advanced Editing/Technical Elements of Editing & Sound
Thursday, April 5th,  4:30 - 6:00 pm
Educators will need to bring an iPad with iMovie downloaded.
Evergreen Workshops for Educators: 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.
Ontario Envirothon: Building Green Leaders
EcoSchools Section 1: Question 1.6, Section 5: Question 5.6; Section 6: Question 6.5

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
Transform TO Climate Action Plan: Get Involved!
EcoSchools Section 1: Question 1.6; Section 5: Question 5.5; Section 6: Question 6.5

In July 2017, City Council approved a plan to mitigate climate change called TransformTO. Now this plan needs funding to be approved by Council at their Feb 12th -13th meetings. To build the kind of city we want, we need to advocate for it.  Students' voices are very powerful.

ClimateFast is looking for teachers who are interested in helping their students to write persuasive letters to Councillors and the Mayor.  We need to convince Council that $2.5 million dollars is a small amount to pay to mitigate climate change and build a healthy, equitable, and prosperous Toronto! If you can help, please contact Lyn Adamson of ClimateFast at