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School receives award for environmental achievements

Written on June 25th, 2008

[caption id=”attachment_3312” align=”aligncenter” width=”300”]Picture 002_edited-1FS Students from environmental studies class (from left to right) Jackie DeJong, Liz Rodell, Eric De Ruiter, Joanna Elliott and Ian Boelens receive the award from city councillors[/caption]

TDChristian wins Outstanding Secondary School Award in Schools in Bloom contest

Toronto District Christian High School (TDChristian) has been awarded the Outstanding Secondary School Award in the City of Vaughan’s Schools in Bloom contest.

The award is given to the school with top scores in four areas: curriculum integration of outdoor space, environmental awareness, schoolyard greening and tidiness effort. A panel of judges evaluates each participating school.

Over the course of the school year students planted a large number of plants donated by local businesses in the school’s butterfly gardens and memorial garden.

The students also applied for and received a $1,000 grant from TD Friends of the Environment, which was used to purchase 40 trees for the school property.

They designed and created an outdoor composting area and placed 13 birdhouses and feeders in the forest surrounding the school.

They also participated in several clean-ups of the school property and creek, as well as nearby areas.

TDChristian’s commitment to environmental studies “is a significant reason for the school’s success,” Justin De Moor, vice-principal of communications, says in a news release.

The school offered three environmental courses to students this year, all of which were very popular with students.

Grade 11 student Joana Elliott, who spear headed the school’s preparations for the contest along with Jackie DeJong, Grade 12, agrees the environmental classes were key to the school’s accomplishment.

“The award was the result of the co-operative effort of many classes at the school but particularly the two environment studies classes this semester,” she says in a news release. “It’s great to have that effort recognized.”

Ben Freeman, one of two teachers of the environmental courses says he was very impressed by the student-initiated environmental activities.

“The students designed their own environmental projects and saw them through to completion,” he says.

De Moor adds that the courses have triggered a “strong environmental conscience within the school,” among both students and staff.

This has led to many changes in the way things are done at the school and has resulted in a number of new initiatives, including extensive recycling and vermi-composting programs.

The school’s plans for a future building expansion have also been influenced by the environmental conscience. The plans include creating an outdoor courtyard area, installing many prominent windows to maximize natural light, and using more environmentally friendly building supplies.

“I know this focus on environmental stewardship will continue at TDChristian, as will its participation in environmental projects and programs, including the Schools in Bloom program,” says De Moor.

TDChristian is a member of the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools, which has more than 70 member schools across the province.