Welcome to our resource page for schools and educators! Here you can discover new opportunities and resources to engage children and youth about environmental living, supporting a healthy environment and support their community involvement.
Don’t forget to sign up for our Eco-Newsletter, where we share upcoming events and eco-action opportunities, green living tips and resources to help you live softly on the environment.
TACKLING THE BASICS
Pack waste-free lunches
Encourage students, teachers, and parents to pack lunches that generate zero garbage. Here are some resources to help:
Also, say NO to bottled water. Use refillable bottles and tap water.
Recycle and compost as frequently as possible
All schools should have access to recycling and composting bins by now. Did you know Halton Region is the first in Ontario to offer composting bin service in all schools? Practice using your bins as frequently and as correctly as possible. If more bins are needed, discuss with those in charge.
Ensure bins are placed well, near high traffic and high garbage areas (eg. cafeteria, school entrances) to capture the most recyclables, without people having to walk too far to access a bin. Did you know that for every pop can you recycle it saves enough energy to power a television for 3 hours? (Halton Region’s “Waste Diversion Guide”).
Learn about Halton Region waste diversion workshops for schools plus waste management site tours here.
Turn off lights not in use
If a room is unused for a period of time, ensure lights are off to conserve electricity. Ensure classroom lights are off at the end of the school day before heading home. Is daylight bright enough that lights can be turned off during class?
Strive to minimize paper use. When something must be printed or photocopied, try to print double-sided to conserve paper. Use recycled or FSC certified paper.
Ready for More?
Form an eco group
This is an important step to provide a forum to identify, discuss, and act on any eco issues of concern at your school (eg. waste reduction, better waste diversion, energy conservation, greening up school grounds, promoting public transit). Members can also attend the BurlingtonGreen Youth Network (BGYN) meetings to see what other schools are doing, ask questions and share their successes with others. An eco group provides a good foundation for implementing many of these green tips.
Promote walking & biking to school
Also, visit Active & Safe Routes to School for more information.
Audit garbage bins for recyclables
Is your recycling program working? Even when recycling/composting bins are available nearby, people often still don’t use them, or contaminate them with incorrect items. If this is happening, your eco group can investigate why, and how it can be improved.
Is more awareness needed? Do you need simple signage? Can bins be placed somewhere better? Do you need more bins? Does it need to be enforced by school staff? Often positive reinforcement is beneficial when people do recycle (eg. saying, “thank you”) just to let them know people are paying attention and are appreciative.
Inspect your school’s grounds for litter
In your eco group, assess the state of litter on school grounds and in parking lots. Is it excessive? Does it remain there too long? Investigate why this is happening and how it can be improved. Are more garbage cans needed in high litter areas? (by sidewalk, bus stops). Do those responsible for litter cleanup know it needs to be done more frequently? Are students aware that staff and fellow students are concerned about the problem and want to see it improved? Sometimes people just think no one’s paying attention and no one cares, so it’s no big deal to throw garbage on the ground.
Promote awareness campaigns
Here are some ideas on different awareness campaigns to bring into your school. Some allow you to register your school, and some offer prizes too!
- Transit use, walking, or biking
- Say no to bottled water
- General recycling knowledge
- Burlington’s anti-idling campaign
- National Sweater Day (early February)
- Earth Hour (late March)
- Earth Day (April 22)
- David Suzuki Foundation’s 30×30 nature challenge (May)
- Earth Overshoot Day (summer)
- National Tree Day (late September)
- Waste Reduction Week (mid-October)
- Waste-free Lunch Week Challenge (mid-October)
Incorporate environmental education into lessons
Plan a field trip! Organizations such as Conservation Halton offer great opportunities for students in all grades to connect with nature.
Ready for more?
Play Native Species Bingo! Native plants and animals, also known as native species, are an important part of our local biodiversity and help support a healthy environment. Let’s explore our local greenspaces and see how many native plants and animals we can spot in this fun and educational challenge! Print our special Native Species Bingo sheet then take a walk with your classroom or hike a trail and try to get 5 in a row.
Check out some of our Teacher Resource Guides which feature activities, discussion questions and more.
Get crafty and incorporate upcycling projects into your activities. Try out our upcycled birdfeeder tutorial to get you started. There are endless upcycling craft ideas – a simple google search will give you lots of ideas!
Invite BurlingtonGreen to come to your classroom. Visit our Book a Presentation page to learn more!
Green your school grounds
Consider organizing a tree planting on school grounds if needed. Make it part of National Tree Day to make it really special! If you need assistance, consider contacting Tree Canada. Remember, you must get permission from the school first, and it is the law to Call Before You Dig to have a free locate done of any underground utilities. Be sure to review and follow the necessary power line safe distances.
Start a school garden
Give your students the hands-on experience of creating and working their own school garden as a way of learning to appreciate nature. Visit Imagine a Garden in Every School for a comprehensive list of resources, grant opportunities, and links, or simply mark your existing school garden on their map. Consider visiting another school’s garden to see how they do it.
Become an Eco-Certified School
Go for Platinum! Set your sights high and work toward the highest level of certification in the Ontario EcoSchools program. Certification is free for publicly funded schools. Funding opportunities are available to assist with environmental improvements required to meet certification standards. Ontario EcoSchools’ vision is: Every School an EcoSchool!
Keep your School Events Clean and Green
School events and parties are a great way to engage students, staff and parents, and can add variety and excitement to the school year. Though many traditional parties and events are hotbeds for waste and single-use plastics. “Going green” with parties and events doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does require some planning and preparation. Use these helpful Event Greening Guides to keep your next school function green and environmentally friendly! While these guides are not designed for ‘school events’, many of the green tips apply here too!
Are you looking for fresh content to get your students learning about the local environment and inspired to make positive change? Look no further, we have collected some of our favourite resources for you!
- Eco Kids
- National Geographic Kids
- WWF’s Schools for a Living Planet
- Earth Rangers
- Ontario Eco Schools Program
- Learning for a Sustainable Future
- Waste Reduction Week
- Canadian Wildlife Federation
- Seeds Connection’s Green School Program
- RBG Eco Studies (High School)
- RBG School Programs (K-12)
- Ontario Children’s Outdoor Charter
- Burlington’s Anti-Idling Campaign
- Ontario Parks Camping Tips for Kids
- Tree Canada Community Tree Grants
- MTO Young Cyclist Guide
- Ontario Active School Travel
- Ontario Green Environmental Education
- Classroom Energy Diet Challenge
- Ministry of Education: Acting Today, Shaping Tomorrow – Policy Framework for Environmental Education in Ontario Schools
- Pitch-In Canada Eco-Active Schools
- Trees in Trouble Resources
- Sustainability 4 Everyone