School inspired by Earth Hour

Green bins have already been implemented in Mowat's cafeteria.

Sir Oliver Mowat Collegiate may become an EcoSchool.

In preparation for Earth Hour on March 29, plans to sign up to become an EcoSchool are underway with advertising and promotion campaigns being launched in order to get students involved.

“We want to start off the process with students connecting with nature,” says Lisa Graves, a co-op teacher involved in this initiative.

An EcoSchool is an environmentally friendly school that implements green ideas. The Toronto District School Board is participating in Earth Hour to help raise awareness and EcoSchools are part of their contribution.

According to the TDSB website, the EcoSchool’s central focus is to support staff and students in caring their school environment with environmentally friendly practices such as conserving energy and minimizing waste.

One of the steps they are taking includes rehabilitating the school’s courtyard with composting to help enrich the soil.

Students created the new garden, with an inuktuk — a figure made of stones — and a student’s metal sculpture, in the courtyard to make it more welcoming.

Graves says Mowat’s environmental studies classes have also been recycling throughout the school on a regular basis.

Green bins have been placed in the cafeteria and the Food and Nutrition class to encourage staff and students to throw out their compostable waste in the bins.

“We’re [also] monitoring the lunchrooms to make sure the lights are off,” Graves says.

The EcoTeam is looking for students and community members that are interested in participating.

“There are six to 10 staff involved now and working with students,” Graves says. “There will be lessons in hopes to teach students about Earth Hour in the geography department.”

But, according to Graves, they want to gain student awareness by having a totem pole carving to involve the students and kick-start the EcoSchool project.

The goal is to connect the students with nature by creating a design revolving around this theme. But they would need some funding for this.

Whitney Jackman, a Queen's University student, is spearheading the EcoSchool initiative in preparation for Earth Hour.“We’re only looking for $14,000 to $15,000 to hire Dorsey James,” Graves says.

James is an artist who is skilled in carving. He is also known for involving youth in various projects.

Whitney Jackman, a Queen’s University student doing a non-teaching placement, is currently planning and preparing this EcoSchool project with the help of Graves.

Jackman says they plan on turning the lights off the day before Earth Hour to build awareness.