In 2009, I completed an internship at Ontario EcoSchools as part of my initial teacher education program. Ontario EcoSchools is the only voluntary certification program in Ontario that recognizes and celebrates schools for their environmental learning and action. Their mission is to nurture environmental leaders, to reduce the ecological impact of schools, and to build environmentally responsible school communities.
One of my roles at EcoSchools was to assist in the certification process. There were two parts to this process. First, I reviewed application binders that were submitted by schools, in which they documented evidence of the six program criteria:
- Teamwork and leadership
- Energy conservation
- Waste minimization
- School ground greening
- Environmental stewardship
Next, I conducted site visits to various schools across Ontario who were first-time applicants to the program. The site visits provided an opportunity to evaluate the culture and practices of the school with respect to their environmental initiatives, and enabled the schools to “show-and-tell” some of their best practices.
Following the certification process, I was also contracted by EcoSchools to prepare a scoping document in which I identified the alignment between the EcoSchools program documents and the newly revised Ontario Ministry of Education Secondary Science Curriculum—including necessary changes.