Schools celebrate eco-school status



By Ron Giofu


St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School has undertaken environmental initiatives for a number of years but now they are being recognized for it.

The Catholic secondary school has been awarded gold status and teacher Andy Paling said this is the first time they have put in for any sort of designation. Villanova has been performing a number of environmentally-friendly activities for years, he stated, and that is the reason they achieved gold so early in the designation process.

Anderdon Public School’s eco-team helped earn their school platinum status.

Among the projects undertaken at Villanova have been recycling, composting, creation and maintenance of a butterfly garden, a number of tree plantings, maintenance of a trail around their County Road 8 property. They also have an “eagle’s nest” program where Paling said they can view a nest on a neighbouring property through a telescope.

“It’s bringing awareness of what is going on around us,” said Paling.

Anderdon Public School achieved platinum status again this year. Their eco-team performed many different activities with Harrison Kulic explaining one of those was a “boomerang lunch” where garbage is brought home so parents can see how much trash is created.

Anderdon encourages re-usable containers with Claire Brown stating they do garbage audits and have litter-less lunches as well. Sofia Kulic said such things as plastic straws and bags were banned on eco-day with Ava Soucie stating there have also been “lights out lunches” as well where the lights were turned off to save on utilities.

Other projects have included trying to attract bees, recycle batteries and working with a Harrow church to turn milk bags into blankets for those in third world countries. They also compost and do a variety of other environmentally-themed activities.

St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School earned gold status the first time they entered as an eco-school.

Teacher and eco-team supervisor Jodi Nolin said they have diverted probably in the neighbourhood of 10,000 milk bags from the landfill over the years.

Nolin added that Anderdon Public School welcomes community groups and parents to help them with projects.

Amherstburg Public School also achieved a gold eco-schools status for the most recent school year as did St. Joseph School in River Canard. Stella Maris School earned a silver designation.

Stella Maris joins list of WECDSB schools designated as “eco-schools”



By Ron Giofu


Stella Maris is one of three Windsor-Essex Catholic District Board schools to receive a designation as an “eco-school” this year, bringing the board’s total up to 15.

The board announced the new designations via press release with Mike Pierre, the Catholic board’s curriculum consultant who oversees the eco-schools program stating: “This is really a celebration of all the hard work our students and staff have done towards greening their schools. These people are keenly aware of the importance of protecting our environment and taking meaningful steps in their schools to reduce waste, lower energy consumption, and improve their school grounds.”

“Our board put it out there and we decided as a school we wanted to do it,” explained principal Sophie DiPaolo.

DiPaolo told the RTT that teachers Amy Williams and Tina Joncas took the project and ran with it and worked with the students to implement environmentally-friendly initiatives.

Stella Maris School has been designated as an “eco-school” by Ontario Eco-Schools. The school and its eco-team (pictured) have undertaken numerous initiatives to help improve the environment.

Stella Maris School has been designated as an “eco-school” by Ontario Eco-Schools. The school and its eco-team (pictured) have undertaken numerous initiatives to help improve the environment.

“It’s an initiative that came from Eco-schools Ontario,” Joncas explained. “They try and recruit schools to be leaders for the environment.”

Stella Maris held a “ban the bottle” campaign where students were encouraged to bring in reusable bottles instead of bottled water. They also worked with Sobeys on Earth Day with the school decorating the paper bags the grocery store used on that day. There have also been plastic bag collections and landscaping done at the school to make the school as “green” as possible.

The school has also sold reusable water bottles, said student Emily Swintak. She added recycling lessons have also been brought home as she earned a “golden recycling box” for her efforts.

“Ever since the beginning of the year I’ve learned how good it is to recycle,” said Jonathan Joncas.

Madison Werstein said she learned about the improper disposal of plastic products and the harm it can do to animals with Emma Jones also adding that littering and waste can have a detrimental impact on animals.

“We learned about which materials go in which box,” added Emmily Cota.

Nico Fox pointed out they also collected batteries due to the dangers of zinc from improperly discarded batteries.

Student Adam Amyotte also pointed out the need to recycle paper bags rather than throw them in the garbage.

Across the province, a record number of 1,830 schools were certified for the 2016-17 school year. Ontario eco-schools works with 56 school boards to nurture student leadership and foster environmental learning and action in school communities.