St. Marguerite d’Youville Catholic Elementary School is showing its true colours.
After achieving ‘platinum’ Ontario EcoSchools certification this past June, St. Marguerite followed the four-time achievement on Sept. 15th with the Canada Green Building Council’s ‘Greenest School in Canada’ award.
The CaBGC recognition program was established in 2014 to showcase Canadian schools that exemplify how sustainability can be woven into the infrastructure, culture and curriculum of a school. Schools are judged on their efficient use of resources and reduced environmental impact, enhanced health and learning among students, teachers and staff, and emphasis on sustainability and resource-conservation education.
For teacher and school eco-rep Lucy Hunt, the award is validation of all the hard work that has gone into making St. Marguerite not only Canada’s Greenest School, but a school that takes its stewardship of God’s Creation to heart.
Since enrolling in the Ontario EcoSchool program ten years ago, the school has reduced its waste from 13 garbage bags a day to one. Litterless lunches are practised daily, and plastic water bottles have been banned from the school. Energy use is charted and monitored by ‘busters’ who check that computer monitors and lights are turned off when not in use. They’re little things, but they add up to a perfect accreditation score.
“To be named ‘Greenest School in Canada’ is a testament to our work of the past ten years as a platinum certified Ontario EcoSchool and speaks to the total commitment of everyone in our school community to care for and protect our Earth,” said Hunt. “It’s been a true labour of love.”
This year St. Marguerite d’Youville will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Ontario EcoSchools program and its tenth year of eco-certification – the first six years at the gold level and the last four at the platinum level. Locally, the school has been awarded the City of Hamilton’s School of the Year/School in Motion for three years running, and has won numerous Smart Commute awards for its Walk and Roll to School Yellow Days. St. Marguerite is also a five-time winner of the Recycling Council of Ontario’s Waste Free Lunch Challenge and for the past three years has been awarded Metro Green Apple Grants, which have been used to host Healthy Eco Fairs where students are able to share their best eco practices with other schools.
With this latest honour, the school, known locally and provincially for its environmental achievements, can now add a national recognition to its banner.
The announcement, kept secret until Sept. 15th, was shared with students and staff at a ‘Live Green’ assembly where the school community celebrated not only its 10 years’ association with the Ontario EcoSchools program, but its new designation as “Canada’s Greenest School.”
“This is wonderful news for St. Marguerite d’Youville and it is because of the ownership that each and every one of our students, staff and parents take in being Stewards of Creation,” said Principal Jenny Frappa.
“I know they will continue to be leaders in protecting, sustaining and preserving our Earth through their vocation to serve the world and each other.”