The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) and its Canada Coalition for Green Schools have announced that Dunbarton High School in Pickering, Ontario, is the winner of the inaugural CaGBC Greenest School in Canada competition.
Schools from both rural and urban areas across Canada entered submissions based on criteria that examined the schools’ efficient use of resources and reduced environmental impact; enhanced health and learning among students, teachers and staff; and emphasis on sustainability and resource-conservation education.
The CaGBC Greenest School jury, comprised of green building industry experts from across the country, determined that Dunbarton stood out from other submissions for its exemplary level of commitment to sustainability, including:
- The creation of ‘bee condos’ to encourage pollination, local park rehabilitation efforts, rain barrel sales and other outreach that was done to connect the students with the broader community.
- The coordination of organic waste collection with local neighbors in order to circumvent having to send this waste to a landfill (a green bin service is not currently available to the school directly).
- Involving the students in the auditing of energy and water use in the school, as a means of educating them about the importance of environmental impact.
- Offering an Atlantic salmon restoration program as a part of the curriculum, providing students with first-hand experience in conservation and a unique learning opportunity.
The runners up of the 2014 competition are Oak Lake Community School, an elementary school in Oak Lake, MB, and Claude Watson School for the Arts in Toronto, ON, also an elementary school, which tied for second place, and Lord Beaverbrook High School in Calgary, AB, which is the second runner up. All of these schools proved a high level of commitment to sustainability and were commended by the jury for their environmental programming and education.
MacKenzie Smyth, a Dunbarton student who recently graduated and was one of the main club leaders over the past three years, says winning this competition validates all of the hard work they’ve done to green the school.
“This award is such an honor and a surprise. Our goal has always been working toward a sustainable environment. We are lucky to have a program where we are encouraged to think big and creatively and to follow through with our plans. This award will definitely help us continue with that thinking. It is very rewarding to see that we are a making difference and to see the willingness of the community to get involved.”