Students gather at Mt. Mary for ‘eco’ celebration
100% of Catholic schools eco certified
Over 300 students and staff gathered at Mount Mary Retreat Centre on September 27th to celebrate the June 2012 Ontario EcoSchools certification of all 57 schools of the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board, and to launch the “Bruce Trail Expedition for Kids” initiative which will benefit nutrition programs in Hamilton inner-city schools.
The students – five from each elementary school and 10 from each secondary – along with their school eco rep/teacher-advisor began the day with an hour-long hike on the Bruce Trail which runs right behind the Mount Mary property. This was followed by a Gallery Walk in the Mount Mary school gym, where each school was invited to set up a display of eco initiatives taking place at their site. The early fall weather was perfectly suited to a picnic of litterless lunches, augmented by freshly-picked apples from a local farm on the grass outside.
The formal celebration began with a prayer service of thanksgiving for the wonder of God’s Creation, followed by words of greeting from Kaitlin Doherty from Ontario EcoSchools as well as Director of Education Patricia Amos and Chairperson Patrick J. Daly.
Chairperson Daly congratulated the students and staff members on their recent 100 percent EcoSchools certification – only the second time a school board in Ontario has ever achieved such a distinction.
He commended the students for not only understanding God’s gift of creation, but for “caring for it so that we can pass it on to our children and grandchildren.”
The full certification of all schools was no small feat, suggested Director Amos, noting that the requirements are stringent, “moving far beyond the 3 R’s of reduce, re-use and recycle.”
“You earned this certification through your passion, dedication and relentless pursuit of environmental goals at each of your schools,” she praised the school teams. “I know this required a strong team effort at the school level and a deep sense of purpose and commitment demonstrated by all within your school buildings.”
Timing it perfectly, the four trekkers from the Bruce Trail Expedition for Kids, who had started their journey along the Bruce Trail in Queenston four days earlier, came over the hill to greet the students, commend them for their Stewardship of Creation, and share their enjoyment of this World Biosphere Preserve “right here in our own backyard.”
Introducing the men –Peter Turkstra, Fred Losani, Mark MacLennan and Teemu Lakkasuo – Daly thanked them for the important education they are providing through Visit - The Buzz Board