CONGRATULATIONS PLATINUM and SECOND GREENEST SCHOOL!
The Claude Watson School for the Arts is always looking for ways to make our learning environment, the community and our world a better place to live. The students and staff pride themselves on being stewards of the environment. Once again, Claude Watson was awarded Platinum Eco School status and this year, was awarded the second greenest school in Canada by The Canada Green Building council and the Canadian Coalition for Green Schools
The entire school community is very proud of this accomplishment and everyone is working hard towards maintaining this high achievement. Many of our “Green Initiatives” are led by members of our Green Conservancy Organization. They have various ongoing projects. The school that encourages student to reduce their lunch waste by using disposable lunch containers, composting and recycling. They are also developing ways of educating students on how to bring a waste-free lunch from home. On a number of occasions, the members of the GCO have helped to keep the school grounds clean by doing garbage pick ups. The entire school participates annually in the School Clean-up Day.
Each week, students go through the recycling bins to ensure that things have been put in the proper bin. Members of the GCO take the classroom bins down to the new large recycling bin located outside of the building. This is a big job and requires all members to help out. It helps the caretaking staff and has helped to reduce the amount of garbage that goes in the regular garbage bin. For Project Standby, a member of the GCO is responsible for logging off the computers in the library and in classrooms. They also ensure that blinds are closed nightly to help conserve energy and that the radiators are clear so that heat can flow easily. The school also collects used printer cartridges, batteries, milk bags for recycling and safe disposal.
The school has initiated a composting program with two composters in their field that they hope will provide soil for their gardens. They also have two smaller composters in our school, one in the lunchroom and the other one in the staff room. In December of 2014, the school initiated the Green Bin program where all organic material is collected weekly.
The garden areas around the school are a very important part of the school’s Eco focus. Each spring and fall, students help to mulch the trees on the property and they use leaves in the autumn to protect the roots of plants and bushes. This year, the GCO will be working on developing a shade garden at the south east corner of the property. This garden will join the Rose Garden, the Butterfly Garden and the Ruth Watson Sketching Garden as additional habitats for birds and wildlife and spaces where students can appreciate nature and art together. The GCO is also developing plans for a balcony garden where they plan to grow vegetables and herbs in containers.
The school also has a bird feeding station during the winter and sunflowers are planted in the spring to provide seeds for birds. The school also has bird houses to provide additional shelters for summer birds. These bird houses were built and painted by students at the school
For the school to reach Platinum Eco School certification, a waste audit was conducted in January. During this event, members of the GCO went through a day's worth of garbage, composting and recycling. The items are sorted, weighed and graphed. This opened the eyes of many members, showing them the amount of waste students created and how much of this waste was placed incorrectly
Currently, the GCO is trying to encourage teachers to implement “green” themes into their curriculum. There are a number interesting ways that teachers are using the environmental theme to help enhance learning experiences including field trips to Forest Valley, Mono Cliffs and the Ontario Science Centre.
The art department is doing their part to try to reduce the amount of harmful paints that are washed into the sewer system. Students clean brushes on canvases to create Eco Canvases and palettes are cleaned and the paint is saved to make incredible pieces of art.
Students are always looking for new and exciting ways of helping the community and reducing their Eco Footprint. This year, students will be running a book exchange, a Trinkets and Treasure sale and they participated in Jeans for Teens. One hundred and fifty pairs of gently used jeans were donated to youth shelters.
“CWSA Waste Watchers” is the GCO’s newsletter. This electronic publication will be sent via email to all families and staff communicating the initiatives that are being taken by students and staff on our quest for Platinum status. The school office is also trying, whenever possible, to use electronic communication in order to reduce the amount of paper used. We look forward to the schools electronic newsletter.
The 2014 school year saw the introduction of the school’s online application process. This electronic process is saving thousands of sheets of paper and envelopes.
Thank you to the community of parents, teachers and students who have helped Claude Watson School for the Arts make a difference!