We are Stewards of the Earth – Caring for the EnvironmentDirector's Corner
Throughout the month of April, we celebrate the virtue of stewardship. This month, we focused our role as stewards of the environment. How can we act responsibly as keepers of the beautiful world God has given us? Throughout each of our schools, we engage in many opportunities and take actions which lead to a positive impact on the environment. Through these actions we support students in acquiring the knowledge, skills, perspectives and practices to become active, engaged and responsible citizens.
At the Board level, our facilities and planning department works tirelessly throughout the year to find environmentally friendly alternatives and solutions that also benefit the overall health and well-being of staff and students! There is much evidence of our focus on environmental stewardship throughout our school board. Below are a wonderful examples:
Outdoor classrooms and trails have given students the opportunity to make deep and meaningful connections to their learning and the natural world around them. We know outdoor learning is critical in supporting the whole child and promoting a holistic education that challenges students to be more self-aware and have an appreciation for all that is living. Through the outdoor classrooms, students are working on their team building, communication and collaborative skills while fostering lifelong love for the outdoors. Many of our schools have these dedicated spaces and we hope to continue to grow this initiative.
Recycling and Composting
All schools participate in a recycling and composting program often involving students as a means of diverting waste and promoting environmental stewardship (though this is currently paused due to COVID-19). Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Board has promoted and encouraged schools to participate in healthy waste free lunches to join our efforts and reduce the waste we are bringing into our schools and buildings.
As a Board, we have been very deliberate in ensuring that capital projects utilize energy efficient equipment and processes to minimize the use of resources. This includes:
- LED lighting conversions to ensure schools have the most efficient lighting system possible. This project is targeted for completion in 2021.
- Use of Energy Recovery Ventilators to ensure the most efficient operation/heat recovery of new ventilation systems.
- Use of high efficiency condensing boilers to ensure maximum reduction in the consumption of fuels.
- Use of variable frequency drives (VFD’s) to ensure efficient operation of large motors.
- Improve the R value of building envelopes specifically the insulation value in roof assemblies and R value of windows.
Efficient and green initiatives
All schools and buildings use a web-based building control system to efficiently manage and monitor building heating, ventilation and lighting systems. This includes managing building schedules and use of set-back temperatures to minimize utilization of fuels and electricity. Staff also utilize certified green cleaning products and processes to minimize the use of chemicals hazardous to the environment and people and to minimize waste. Environmental controls and management processes are in place to ensure that when designated substances are identified and removed that all safety protocols including proper disposal are adhered to.
St. Benedict Students learn to garden
As part of programming at St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School, students are exploring the many health and wellness benefits of gardening and taking care of plants. A variety of nutritious foods, including lettuce, tomatoes and herbs have been harvested already by the students. Future plans include having a plant sale later in the Spring as well as providing plants and assistance to a nearby community garden. Students have been enjoying learning about the process of planting and look forward to continuing the project in May!
Marymount Students Design French Posters to Demonstrate Their Commitment to Mother Earth!
Core French students completed research projects to develop their own posters and show their commitment to the environment. Students researched various solutions at home and in the community and visually demonstrated their actions with creative designs and statements in French. Students also chose to enter their submissions to the Board wide Earth Day contest.
St. David Students Make a Difference on Earth Day!
Mrs. Cimino’s grade 1 class had a great day celebrating Earth Day by creating their very own cross curricular art and science projects using only recyclable items from home. Students were learning about how to care for Mother Earth through their own actions and understanding how simple gestures, like picking up garbage around the neighbourhood could make a difference. Many students individually entered the Board wide Earth day contest as well as the whole class! Way to go Dragons! Prizes will be given at the school level to congratulate all students for their efforts in becoming better stewards of the earth.
Remote Learning Class Raises Money to Adopt Injured Animals
Melanie Jarrett’s Kindergarten/Grade 1 Remote Learning class raised $200 and adopted an injured porcupine and rabbit from the Procyon Wildlife Center! Students completed chores, picked up garbage and collected donations to raise the necessary funds. The class named the porcupine Sweetheart and the rabbit has been named Diamond. They will complete a virtual visit with their adopted new friends via a live web cam! Mrs. Jarrett is very proud of her students and their commitment to wildlife!
Sudbury Catholic Students Participate in Second Annual Board Wide Earth Day Contest!
Students Kindergarten to Grade 12 participated in the second annual Board wide Earth Day Contest. Students were encouraged to show their commitment to the environment by demonstrating how they were going to celebrate Earth Day. Examples of submissions included poems, stories, songs, comic strips, an art pieces using only recyclable items, environmental ads, and gardening. We received 136 entries from innovative students across the Board!
Here are our winners!
Kindergarten to Grade 3:
- Rylan Benoit, St. David School who created this life size structure using recyclable materials!
- Andrew Akero, St. David School, who created face masks from recyclable materials
- Mac Gorrie Martin, Remote Learning School who created the following news segment showcasing what is not safe to pour into drains
- Hannah Potvin, Remote Learning School who created her own bee and butterfly watering station
Grade 7 and 8
- Mali Jutila, Marymount Academy created the following Earth Day Poster
- Mya Massimiliano, Marymount Academy wrote the following poem
Thank you to everyone for caring for the earth and for being wonderful Stewards.