Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow Program
The Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority wishes to express its sincere appreciation to The W. Garfield Weston Foundation who so generously supported the Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow program for the past four years. The program targeted grade six students from marginalized communities, by subsidizing the cost of their visit to the Ganaraska Forest Centre, for a three-day residential stay. Over that past four years, 48 classes from five different school boards, spanning from Kingston to Oshawa and north to Barrie and Orillia were able to participate in the experiential education program at the centre.
Over 1400 students fro
m low socio-economic, high density neighbourhoods were able to visit and participate in a series of environmentally themed programs and activities. For many, it was a life-changing opportunity they may not otherwise have ever been able to have experienced. Students pledged to take their newfound knowledge about nature, conservation and preservation back into their home communities. As a follow-up and thank you to participating, teachers were able to access $350 in grant dollars to plant native trees and shrubs to help diversify their school yards and attract native birds and butterflies.
The subsidized program came to an end in June 2016 and Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority was honoured to have been a delivery agent for this wonderful and meaningful program. See for yourself, what the children thought:
"Thank you for the amazing trip to the Ganaraska Forest Centre. I learned that the environment is wonderful, but people around the world are destroying it and are impacting the environment through pollution, crop growth and soil contamination. We need to take a stand and maintain and rebuild nature by walking or riding a bike. We need to recycle and deposit our garbage in the appropriate places, so no poisonous materials get put into our soil and water. "
"…When we did trust games, I learned that I can trust someone to catch me in their arms and not to be scared of them dropping me. I also very much appreciate the teachers helping me to overcome my fears in the forest; you showed me that, at night, the forest is actually very cool. Now, I don’t need to be scared and now I can be brave and enjoy the forest.
"When we were there, my class learned that the environment is a beautiful place. Sadly, people around the world are not treating our world properly. We greatly appreciate your kindness and education at Ganaraska and hope our school sees you again…"
A Special Note from St. Patrick's Principal: "The trip that the Weston Family Foundation provided to St Patrick's Grade 6 class was absolutely incredible for our students. We at St Patrick serve a low socio-economic area with many social housing units. For these students to have the opportunity to stay in your beautiful facility to experience the beauty of nature and develop leadership skills is the opportunity of a lifetime! The memories are still being shared! Our Gr 6 leaders have presented their learning with our entire student body and the students in turn, have fully supported the environmental leadership initiatives. We are truly grateful for the opportunity that you have so generously granted us."
St. Patrick Catholic Elementary School students built bird houses as part of the Phase 3 component of the ELT program