Environmental Stewardship and Climate Action Through EcoSchools Canada
In spring 2019, the Alberta Council for Environmental Education teamed up with the City of Calgary and Calgary's two major school districts to start Calgary Schools for Climate Action. The aim: How can we engage Calgary's school community in climate action that directly supports the city's newly adopted climate action plan (i.e. Calgary Climate Resilience Strategy)? The idea was to create a framework for collective action that fosters a common sense of purpose and civic pride and most importantly, helps students feel hopeful for the future through purposeful action.
Our journey has since led us to partner with EcoSchools Canada, an environmental certification program for schools that strives to nurture environmental leaders, reduce the ecological impact of schools, and build sustainable school communities. We are now working to bring the highly successful EcoSchools Canada program to Calgary in fall 2020.
June Information Sessions for Schools - Recording Now Available!
In early June, we held a series of information sessions for teachers and school administrators to help answer the following questions:
1. What is the EcoSchools Canada environmental certification program?
2. Why should my school join this exciting initiative?
3. How can my school become an EcoSchool?
If you were unable to attend, you can access are recording by clicking on the image below:
Questions? Contact Marie at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Engage the school community in effective environmental stewardship and climate action that supports real-world action frameworks at multiple scales (local to global);
- Advance literacy around environment, energy and climate;
- Foster responsible environmental and global citizenship.
- Curriculum-linked - Support teachers in delivering on the curriculum;
- Collaborative - Build on, rather than replace, existing climate education and action programs;
- Real-world - Link to broader initiatives (e.g. Calgary Climate Resilience Strategy, EcoSchools Canada, U.N. Sustainable Development Goals) to provide authentic contexts and visions, at multiple scales;
- Student-led - Students create and implement age-appropriate climate action plans with the support of the entire school community including teachers, school administrators, facility managers, and parents;
- Evidence-based - Success is measured using a range of metrics that capture progress in terms of environmental impact (e.g. GHG emissions reductions), student learning (e.g. climate and energy literacy), and climate-friendly behaviours (e.g. turning lights and electronics off when not in use);
- Flexible - Schools develop their own climate action plans that align with their own opportunities, priorities and interests
What Do We Hope to Accomplish in 2019-20?
This year, our focus has been on program and resource development, marketing, and testing. Thanks to the generous support of our funders identified below, we have been working hard to:
- Work with EcoSchools Canada to make their on-line platform and resources relevant to Alberta teachers. This includes:
- Ensuring a strong pathway for climate action
- Linking climate and environmental stewardship actions to real-world local and global action plans and strategies (e.g. Calgary Biodiversity Strategy, UN Sustainable Development Goals)
- Identifying links to the Alberta curriculum, outdoor and place-based education, and Indigenous perspectives
- Profiling existing environmental education resources and programs on EcoSchools Canada's on-line platform
- Provide information sessions to teachers and school administrators so they can start planning on joining the EcoSchools program in fall 2020.
- Deliver information sessions to environmental education providers and invite them to connect their programs to teachers via the EcoSchools Canada on-line platform
Looking Ahead to 2020-21:
This coming year, we will shift our focus from design and planning to implementation. Our aim is to:
- Engage at least 25 schools, 100 teachers and 3000 students in the Year 1 pilot of EcoSchools Canada in Alberta.
- Offer a variety of on-boarding and support opportunities to schools to help them achieve a minimum of bronze level certification.
- Provide opportunities for schools to network, exchange ideas, and learn from each other.
- Provide opportunities for student leaders to mentor younger or less experienced students.
- Conduct a full evaluation of all aspects of the program so we can learn from this Year 1 pilot and make the program even better for future years.
We are grateful to The Calgary Foundation, Royal Bank of Canada Foundation, Alberta Ecotrust, and Energy Efficiency Alberta for their support of this program. We invite other organizations to support this important work - please contact our Executive Director Gareth [at] abcee.org to discuss.