The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) and the Canada Coalition for Green Schools are looking for the 2016 Greenest School in Canada. Now in its third year, this annual competition seeks to highlight kindergarten to Grade 12 schools across the country that exemplify how sustainability can be woven into the infrastructure, culture and curriculum of a school.
Schools offering grades between K and 12 are eligible to participate in the Greenest School in Canada competition, and will be judged on the following criteria:
1. Efficient use of resources and reduced environmental impact.
2. Enhanced health and learning among students, teachers and staff.
3. Emphasis on sustainability and resource-conservation education.
“This competition becomes more recognized each year, as evidence shows the potential green schools can have on the attentiveness, respiratory health, and overall well-being of students and staff,” says Thomas Mueller, President and CEO of CaGBC. “Each year the CaGBC looks forward to engaging with more schools and educators across the country, to hear about their efforts to incorporate sustainability into the curriculum and the physical school environment. I look forward to recognizing more schools this year.”
As indicated by last year’s winning projects, St. Marguerite d’Youville in Hamilton, ON, and Queen Elizabeth High School in Edmonton, AB, a green school is not defined simply by having green infrastructure, it is a school that minimizes environmental impacts in a variety of ways including: empowering educators with a curriculum to foster a generation of environmentally literate students, creating healthier spaces inside and outside where students learn and play, and working with surrounding communities to encourage sustainability on a neighbourhood scale.
For one of the 2015 winning schools, the Award brought validation to the work they do every day. “The students and staff at St. Marguerite d’Youville Catholic Elementary School were so incredibly honoured and humbled by the recognition,” says Teacher and School Enviro-Rep, Lucy Hunt. “To be named Greenest School in Canada was a testament to our work of the past ten years…speaks to the total commitment of everyone in our school community to care for and protect our Earth. It’s been a true labour of love.”
A full submission form can be found on the competition website. Apart from a new online application form, schools can also submit a video application to demonstrate their efforts. The winning school receives $2,000 in prize money to use toward a green activity, and will be submitted as the official Canadian entry into the Greenest School on Earth competition, awarded annually by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council.