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Environmental Protection & Preservation


Province Strengthening Environmental Education


The McGuinty government is strengthening environmental education by continuing its support of the EcoSchools program and launching two youth websites, Education Minister Kathleen Wynne and Environment Minister Laurel Broten announced today.

"We must help students build on the knowledge and leadership they have already shown on climate change issues," said Wynne during a visit to Earl Haig Secondary School, a Toronto District School Board certified EcoSchool. "Our government is committed to reaching every student with an environmental education that inspires them to take positive action."

"Climate change is the challenge of our generation," said Broten. "By informing and inspiring students to take action on environmental issues and climate change, Ontario benefits in two important ways -- we will have healthier schools and greener communities, and we are growing the environmental leaders and innovators of tomorrow."

Building on its commitment to turn environmental education into action on climate change, the McGuinty government is:
  • Affirming its support for the Ontario EcoSchools program
  • Launching two new youth websites www.obviously.ca for secondary students and www.ontario.ca/ezone for elementary students to increase environmental issues awareness.
Ontario EcoSchools is an environmental education program that addresses both how the schools are run and what students learn. It has been designed by school boards to incorporate environmental education as well as environmentally responsible action into the school setting. Evergreen has been a partner in the EcoSchools program since its inception and has been responsible for the development of its school ground greening component. There are currently 107 certified EcoSchools at six boards in Ontario.

"Evergreen is thrilled to be administering a $500,000 grant from the Ministry of Education to support the growth and expansion of the Ontario EcoSchools program," said Evergreen's Executive Director Geoff Cape. "EcoSchools has helped so many students, teachers and staff take action together for the environment - in the classroom, in the school building and on the school grounds. We are certain it will be welcomed in schools and boards across Ontario. We congratulate the government for its support and vision."

"EcoSchools are focused on student success - in both academics and positive contributions to society," said Catherine Mahler, EcoSchools' project coordinator. "This government support will help us engage thousands of more students, enabling them to take their classroom learning and transform their schools with environmentally responsible practices."

The Ministry of the Environment today launched two websites - www.obviously.ca for secondary students and www.ontario.ca/ezone for elementary students. The websites were created to explain the challenges facing our planet and inspire them to take actions that protect the environment - all within an interactive media experience that includes music clips and videos.

"Obviously.ca is unique. Most environmental government websites bombard you with information and boring statistics," said Sandra Giangioppo, a student at William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute in Toronto. "But obviously.ca uses creative techniques such as video clips and interesting facts to grab your attention and really help you understand the important environmental issues out there. It is a very innovative and cool approach to increasing environmental issues awareness."

A review by Ontario's Curriculum Council is also underway on how environmental education is taught in elementary and secondary schools. A working group, led by astronaut and scientist Dr. Roberta Bondar, is currently reviewing public submissions and a report to the minister is expected by summer 2007.

All Ontarians have a role to play in making our province greener. The government has already taken action by protecting a greenbelt that stretches across southern Ontario from development, introducing tough new laws that protect our drinking water, producing more renewable energy and doing more to conserve electricity. But we know more needs to be done. That's why our next step will be the announcement of a climate change plan - a step that will help all Ontarians do their part to make our province cleaner and greener while keeping the economy strong.





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