Prairie region is home to 95 community initiatives, which were supported with $927,175 in funding. Here are highlights from three grassroots projects that made a difference in the region.
Westgate School: Sowing Seeds of Sustainability, Calgary, Alberta
Students at Calgary’s Westgate School – where half the classrooms have no windows or natural light – now have an outdoor classroom where the 665 pupils in grades one to six can study and explore nature firsthand.
With the support of TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF), raised planter boxes were installed and pollinator beds were planted, maintained and harvested by students. Native shrubs and trees were also planted to further naturalize the space, and a natural covered seating area added to provide space for teaching, as well as neighbourhood gatherings.
All 31 classes at the school will pitch in to take care of the gardens and engage in lessons and discussions on plant life and Alberta’s diverse landscapes and ecosystems.
Thanks to the grant provided by TD FEF, Westgate School was able to transform the front of the school yard into a vibrant outdoor classroom. The outdoor space has provided many opportunities for rich learning for students in our school and has provided a space to gather as a community.
- Water conservation: A water harvesting and conservation system, including a passive gravity feed and drip irrigation system, was installed to provide a sustainable water source for the planter boxes.
- Environmental curriculum: Teachers have designed learning plans for each grade, aligned with the current curriculum across a wide variety of subjects.
University College of the North: Rosie Mayne Nochemek Trail, The Pas, Manitoba
The Rosie Mayne Nochemek Trail in The Pas runs close to an elementary school, the University College of the North (UCN) and the First Nations community of Opaskwayak. But students and community members hadn’t been able to explore the trail in recent years, because it had been neglected and become unsafe for visitors.
With TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF) funding, however, the 3.3-kilometre trail was made safer and more accessible to visitors of all ages and levels of mobility, by clearing fallen debris, downed power lines, fallen trees and 10 years’ worth of overgrowth.
The TD FEF grant has helped us create connections not only between children and the environment by educating them on the importance of green space, but also the connection between us at University College of the North, community groups, including the Rotary Club and H4 club, and Kelsey Community School. The team that is working on creating this education space has brought like - minded educators and community groups together. Everyone benefits!
- Improved accessibility: Community volunteers laid over three kilometres of mulch to make the walking path more accessible to people in wheelchairs or with strollers. Once the trail was finished, a boardwalk was constructed across the wetland and a large gazebo was built by the college carpentry class and installed by the students, to accommodate school and community gatherings.
- Environmental education: The provincial Natural Resource Conservation Department worked with the college’s natural resource students, a local community business and a carpentry class to develop all-weather signage to facilitate safe use of the trail and identify tree species and information about soil types, bugs and other area wildlife.
- Future partnerships: To help with trail maintenance, UCN plans to enlist the help of other environmental organizations, such as Ducks Unlimited Canada, the Manitoba Forestry Association, the Opaskwayak Education Authority, and others.