Environmental Excellence Celebrated in the Rouge Park
Heritage Park Teachers, Kate Crofts,
and FRW staff, Sadi Siva and Colin O'Neill.
During Canada’s Environment Week, students from Ajax, Pickering and Scarborough came together to be honoured for their messages in Environmental Stewardship and Excellence. Held on June 7th, at Scarborugh's Fleming Public School, this environmental awards ceremony was the culmination of the "Save the Earth" essay contest organized by Friends of the Rouge Watershed (FRW). The essay contest focused on climate change and its impacts on Mother Nature. Essays were submitted by over 200 Ontario Grade 7, 8 and 9 students attending schools in the regions of York, Durham and Toronto.
A panel of judges chose 20 essays to receive Certificates of Excellence and a variety of "green" prizes donated by FRW’s conservation partners, local green businesses and non-profit groups. The prizes included a bicycle helmet, a bicycle pump, cloth bags, compact fluorescent light bulbs, gift certificates, club ambassadorships, t-shirts as well as a free membership to any conservation park in Ontario for a whole year.
The purpose of the essay contest was to increase awareness and stimulate creative thinking and action concerning the problems of air pollution and climate change. The students voiced their concerns on issues such as the causes of climate change and its effects on humanity, wildlife and ecosystems; the positive and negative roles of government and technology in protecting air quality; the impacts of environmental organizations and multimedia in protecting air quality; the inter-relationships between the environment, the economy and society, and the concept of Sustainable Development.
Amanda and 12th winner.
Gloria and 19th winner.
Richard and 3rd winner.
"I love working with kids, especially the ones who are really passionate about the planet," said this year's contest organizer, Sadhana (Sadi) Siva, FRW's Communication and Education Coordinator. "I organized this contest specifically to find out how and what our future generations would do to prevent Climate Change. After reading nearly 200 essays, it was comforting to realize that students these days are starting to become well informed about environmental issues. There was a great deal of research and passion in all those essays. It was very tough choosing the winners."
Each year, FRW teaches hundreds of students about the sources, impacts and solutions of climate change. FRW staff present students with opportunities to conserve energy and harness renewable energy sources. They talk to students about transforming their schools into eco-schools (Toronto District School Board Initiative); they ask them to plant native trees, shrubs and wildflowers at their schools and homes, and request them to bicycle, walk and/or use public transit as opposed to driving.
"You can always tell which students are the passionate ones. Their facial expressions speak for themselves, especially once they hit the outdoors," commented Sadi.
The staff of FRW would like to thank the teachers, students, partners and sponsors for all of their help. Prize donors included:
- Mountain Equipment Co-op;
- One Tonne Challenge;
- City of Toronto's Bicycle User Group Network,
- Rouge Park;
- Toronto Region Conservation Authority;
- Toronto District School Board;
- Evergreen; Clean Air Partnership;
- Ontario Nature;
- Toronto Green Tourism Association.
Until next year!!!