Holy Cross has made efforts over the last several years to become a school that promotes environmental education and takes action on reducing our impact on the environment. As a result of our efforts Holy Cross, has been a silver certified Ontario EcoSchool since the spring of 2009. These efforts have come from both individual students and staff, as well as from groups such as the HC Green Team and Student’s Council.
The EcoSchool project provides an excellent opportunity for Holy Cross students and staff to accept their responsibility as a Roman Catholic school community to promote respect and appreciation for God's Creation. In caring for the environment around us we believe we are showing respect for God who has entrusted the world to our care.
What is an EcoSchool?
Ontario EcoSchools is an environmental education program that addresses both how the schools are run and what students learn. It has been designed collaboratively by school boards for school boards to incorporate environmental education as well as environmentally responsible action into the school setting. Student success—in both academics and positive contributions to society—is the focus of Ontario EcoSchools. The program aims to influence young people during a formative period of life, and affect an exponential impact as children take a culture of conservation home with them.
The four main areas that define an EcoSchool are:
- Energy conservation
- Waste minimization
- School ground greening
- Ecological literacy
Over 1200 schools across Ontario are currently certified EcoSchools.
Why become an EcoSchool?
Environmental awareness and concerns are rapidly increasing in today’s society. As educators of tomorrows’ leaders, we have an important role in instilling values of stewardship of the earth. Our reductions in waste production and energy consumption will also lessen our own impact on the environment. Finally, there is an economic benefit to reducing energy consumption and waste production as savings can be passed on to the school board and ultimately the schools.
Steps to becoming a certified EcoSchool
There are EcoSchool program involves a five step process listed below:
- Establish an EcoTeam
- Assess the school's needs
- Identify priorities and develop an action plan
- Implement the action plan
- Monitor and evaluate progress
Once the school has met a sufficient number of criteria set out by the EcoSchool’s program, the school will assessed by a member of the EcoSchools program from York University. If the schools meet the required criteria it then becomes a certified EcoSchool.