2013 Jack Layton Award for Youth Action in Sustainability

Winner, Runner-Ups & Honourable Mentions of the 2013 Award

The following seven schools have been recognized out of over 120 school action projects to receive the Learning for a Sustainable Future Jack Layton Award for Youth Action in Sustainability. Each of the sustainability-related action projects 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. Chedabucto Education Centre/ Guysborough Academy was awarded first place, two schools were recognized as Runner-Ups and four schools were given Honourable Mentions. 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!


Chedabucto Education Centre/ Guysborough Academy

The winning school this year was Chedabucto Education Centre/ Guysborough Academy from Guysborough, Nova Scotia.  Their project and media presentation best reflected how the students responded to community challenges with creativity, responsible citizenship and innovative action. Congratulations!

Students at Chedabucto Education Centre/Guysborough Academy planned and hosted a school board-wide youth food security symposium at their school. Over 100 students, teachers and community members learned about food security issues through interactive workshops and presentations at the Hunger Bites: A Youth Food Security Symposium on May 14, 2013. The students arranged the entire day including the t-shirts, take away gardening baskets, workshops, evaluation forms, key note speaker, live twitter feed, locally sourced lunch and summary video. These students successfully implemented a resource from LSF’s Resources 4 Rethinking database (www.r4r.ca) entitled “Your guide to taking action with community mapping”.



Fort McMurray Islamic School

Fort McMurray Islamic School students realized that they could make a significant impact on the health of the environment and local community by creating a recycling program at their school. Before they started this project, the school and local community did not have an effective method of collecting recycling and so all of their paper waste was thrown out. By operating an information campaign about the importance of reducing waste and recycling, asking parents and community members to send their paper waste to school instead of throwing it out at home, and collecting, sorting and weighing the amount of paper they collected each week, students at Fort McMurray Islamic School redirected almost 2500 pounds of paper from the landfill to the recycling station in one school year.  They also were able to reuse 8000 units of waste by collecting snack wrappers and packaging and sending them to TerraCycle where they will be turned into another product.


St. Joseph’s Catholic School

After attending one of Learning for a Sustainable Future’s EcoLeague Youth forums, grade seven/eight students from St. Joseph’s Catholic School decided that they wanted to reduce their ecological footprint.  Their goal was to increase opportunities for outdoor learning while reducing waste, so they planned to create a garden which would attract butterflies, compost waste and incorporate their faith – the “Rosary Butterfly Compost Garden”. Students truly led the project by growing plants from seed, rotating soil, digging the area for the garden, walking the stepping stones to the garden, problem solving when they encountered hidden concrete pilings, and canvassing their family and community members for gardening knowledge, tools and advice. They also developed leadership skills by teaching grade two students how to compost, care for plants and create a garden border out of rocks.



Honourable Mentions:

Duke of Connaught Public School

Students at Duke of Connaught Public School have been busy creating a garden on a piece of formerly un-used land at the front of their inner-city school. Students designed, organized and created the garden using their creativity, artistic, collaborative and problem-solving skills. They prepared the ground, planted the flowers, painted the fence and created shapes of endangered or extinct animals in Canada along the bordering fence.  The garden has inspired conversation between students, parents and teachers about what children can achieve when they are supported and guided.

Landmark Elementary School

Students from Landmark Elementary School completed their ‘Grow to Give’ project this year.  They worked with community volunteers to build a greenhouse on their school grounds. Students created two solar panels out of 544 repurposed pop cans to charge the greenhouse batteries and keep their greenhouse ‘off the grid’. They have also installed two composters in the schoolyard and a rain barrel which they will connect to the school eaves troughs so they can use rainwater to water their plants. All 233 students at Landmark Elementary School are growing plants from seed in the greenhouse.

St. Patrick Catholic School

The goal of this year’s Grow Green Team at St. Patrick Catholic School was to reduce their school’s waste by composting. Students provided compost pails for classes at the school and a large compost bin in the school yard.  Students created and presented an entertaining skit explaining why composting is important to the entire school. 

William G Davis Junior Public School (TDSB)

Grade one students at William G Davis Junior Public School partnered with local high school students, community members and a volunteer from their local Starbucks to create a garden in the front of their school.  To help them understand the harmful effects humans have on the environment and how one person can make a difference, the grade one students read different story books such as The Giving Tree, The Lorax, and The Curious Garden. With the help of their volunteers and local high school students, the grade ones planted perennials, shrubs and bushes – plants which will continue to grow year after year. The grade one students care for the garden by watering the plants, weeding the garden, and removing garbage that has blown into the garden from the street. 

View past winners: 

Newsletter Sign-up

Register for Professional Development

Information and resources on the important topics affecting our world today.