2012 Jack Layton Award for Youth Action in Sustainability

Winner, Runner-Ups & Honourable Mentions of the 2012 Award

In 2012, LSF selected 1 Winner,  4 Runner-Ups and 11 Honourable Mentions from over 150 successful sustainability-related action projects that utilized at least one of LSF’s resources offered through Resources for Rethinking www.r4r.ca.  Each of the award recipients will be given a certificate of achievement acknowledging their successful project.  Those schools who are a Runner-Up will also receive $250 towards a sustainability-related action project and the winning school will receive $500. This year’s winning school is Richmond Rose Public School of Richmond Hill, Ontario.  They will receive their award and cheque at the upcoming Learning for a Sustainable Future Annual Gala on October 16, 2012.

Check out the fabulous projects these schools have done by reading the summaries below.

Thank you to everyone who participated! All of your projects were outstanding!  Keep up the GREAT work!


The winning school this year was Richmond Rose Public School from Richmond Hill, Ontario.  Their project and media presentation best reflected how the students responded to community challenges with creativity, responsible citizenship and innovative action. Congratulations!

Richmond Rose Public School – Richmond Hill, ON 

The 38 student Richmond Rose Eco-Team built and sustained a large school vegetable garden for two years with the support of their fellow students, parents, administration and community.  This project engaged students from Kindergarten to Grade 8, teachers, parents and community volunteers.  This collaborative team built, seeded, watered, weeded and harvested the garden, which consisted of 6 raised garden beds, each 4 feet by 12 feet in size.  The school held a planting day to seed the garden that involved over 150 students from all grades and classes.  The garden was watered daily during the summer break thanks to the organized and collaborative efforts of eco-team members and their families.  In the fall, over 150 students came together to harvest the vegetables which filled 10 bushels of potatoes, parsnips and carrots.  The students donated 35 bags of potatoes to the Richmond Hill Community Food Bank and sold potatoes, parsnips with recipes and carrot juice to the community during a school event to raise money for compost fertilizer and seeds for next year.


Alexander Muir Public School – Newmarket, ON 

Concerned about the harmful effects of conventional cleaning products and lip balm, the students in the Alexander Muir Public School Eco-Team made their own all-natural cleaning product (K-G Clean) and lip balm (Alexander Muir’s Ecotastic Lip Balm).  They used the proceeds from the sales of these products to save for a water filling station which would accommodate the refilling of their reusable water bottles.  In previous years, this school has also created a butterfly garden with bird nesting boxes, an outdoor classroom, a blue box band, and banned disposable water bottles from their school.

Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School – Vancouver, BC 

The Youth 4 Tap group at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School facilitated an education campaign to raise awareness about the environmental implications of purchasing and consuming bottled water.  The Youth 4 Tap group launched their education campaign district wide, reaching out to other schools and providing peer-to-peer mentorship.  They also engaged in fundraising to install a water refilling station so that tap water was readily accessible to more students and banned the sale of bottled water in their school.

Wellington Heights Secondary School – Mount Forest, ON 

The grade 10 students in the Community Environmental Leadership Program (CELP) at Wellington Heights Secondary School built a boardwalk at Luther Marsh.  They did this to increase their access to the water while reducing the environmental impact they have upon Luther Marsh from their daily class visits and the annual visit by the local grade four classes each May.

W. D. Ferris Elementary School – Richmond, BC 

Students at W. D. Ferris Elementary School developed and performed a play called the ‘Story of the Salmon’ to highlight the connection between Richmond, BC, the Musqueam First Nations people and their traditional fishing and hunting territory, and the salmon migration.  The students raised Coho salmon in the classroom and released them at the Little Campbell River Fish Hatchery.  In the past, this school has also recycled beverage containers and paper hand towels, operated a compost program, conducted garbage audits, created 9 raised vegetable gardens, planted trees, operated a walk-to-school campaign, and used refillable whiteboard markers instead of disposable markers.

Honourable Mentions

Auburn Drive High School – Dartmouth, NS

The Green Team at Auburn Drive High School held a water rally for the community to raise awareness of the need for clean, accessible water, water conservation and the issues associated with buying and drinking bottled water.  The students also stopped the sale of bottled water in the school and developed a life-size game board about bottled water that is being sent to schools across Nova Scotia to raise awareness of bottled water issues.

Belfountain Public School – Belfountain, ON 

The junior elective group created and planned a festival. Our goal was to raise awareness of and pull an invasive species called Garlic Mustard. We wrote grants, called people, had meetings with partners and advertised. We were proud of the website, name and logo we created. We managed to create an environmentally friendly festival with great food, entertainment by a local band, interesting local artists, local market place vendors and a garlic mustard cook off. We also pulled 1200 lbs of Garlic Mustard that day! We did it all and we did such a great job that they want to make it an annual event!  Look for information on the festival in May 2013! www.garlicmustardbusters.ca       Written By: Holly Hickey (gr.6)

Please go to http://garlicmustardbusters.ca/gallery/ to view the students' videos.

Cambridge-Narrows Community School – Cambridge-Narrows, NB 

Students at Cambridge-Narrows Community School worked together to create a schoolyard habitat project.  Children of all ages, from Kindergarten to grade 12 worked collaboratively to clean-up the schoolyard, design the new schoolyard and build raised flower bed boxes, benches, and bird and bat houses.  From these efforts, the school community was able to create a space for bats to repopulate, birds to nest, and for the students to grow organic, heritage vegetables.

École Massey Elementary School – Regina, SK 

The grade eight students at École Massey Elementary School engaged in a number of sustainability related activities to improve their school community.  These students created an endangered ecosystem and species ecological park on the school grounds, a Sustainability Viewpoints zine and showcased a class-made sustainability mural at a local ECO Fair.

Lower Canada College – Montreal, QC  

The grade eight math students at Lower Canada College built a pavilion using recycled timber from the tear-down of the oldest house in Kazabazua, Quebec.  In doing so, the students learned about sustainable building design and construction, sustainable energy sources and how to use power tools to build a structure.

Riverview Elementary School – Verdun, QC 

Students from grades three to six from Riverview Elementary School engaged in an action project to reduce their waste.  They used the Waste Generation unit available on www.r4r.ca and conducted a waste audit after lunch to see how they could reduce their school’s waste.  They noticed that milk cartons were being thrown out instead of recycled.  To reduce their waste, they created a milk carton recycling team to collect and recycle all milk cartons after lunch.  Due to their efforts, over 80 large bags of milk cartons were diverted from the garbage to the recycling.

St. Henry Catholic School – Toronto, ON

The grade 5 & 6 students at St. Henry Catholic School built an outdoor classroom for the entire school to enjoy.  In addition, this school community has banned the use of plastic water bottles, has significantly reduced their garbage by 75 percent, practices an anti-idling policy, engaged in an environmental stewardship campaign using story boards posted around the school, and encourages students to bring litter-less lunches.

Sunnylea Junior School – Etobicoke, ON 

The Eco-Team at Sunnylea Junior School wanted to find a way to market their sustainability initiatives to the school and broader community.  They visited the National Film Board of Canada and learned how to create videos on the computer.  They used this knowledge to create videos on local sustainability issues and responsible citizenship which they used to recruit new members to their school’s Eco-Team.

Wellington Secondary School – Nanaimo, BC

The environmental club, in partnership with community members designed an aquaponics project which utilizes a vertical garden, fish and a fish tank.  Through this project, the environmental club will raise tilapia and eventually trout to repopulate local streams and provide fish for the school’s cooking class.  Additionally, the plant wall will act as a natural insulator, thus reducing the school’s heating costs and carbon footprint.  In the past, the environmental club has also worked on maintaining the health of a local stream, operating beach clean-up days, conducting fish surveys and removing invasive species from parks.  

Woodlands Elementary School – Woodlands, MB 

The grade eight students at Woodlands Elementary School took a new spin on the litterless lunch idea. They used their math and analytical skills to highlight not only the waste-related benefits of litterless snacks, but also the taste and cost-related benefits as well.  These students compared the cost and taste of store-bought, pre-packaged snacks and drinks with homemade versions.  The students presented this information to grade four students in seven other local schools. 

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