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Annual Report 2015-16

Ontario EcoSchools

Our Mission

To nurture environmental leaders, reduce the ecological impact of schools, and build environmentally responsible school communities. To do this we:

  • Certify K-12 schools in environmental learning and action 
  • Create a vibrant network of schools, school boards and community partners
  • Build strong EcoTeams with training sessions and tools
  • Embed ecological literacy into the curriculum and daily practices

Our Vision

Every School an EcoSchool!

From individual behaviours to collective impact, all members of school communities are empowered with the knowledge, skills, perspectives, and desire to act as environmentally responsible citizens.

Letter from the Executive Director

Elanor Waslander

Every day I take my three year old outside to explore. whether in our backyard or in neighbourhood parks, his unreserved enthusiasm and curiosity for the world around us – puddles, bird songs, the fall leaves – reminds me of my own connection to my environment and the deeper purpose in the work I do.

I’ve been with Ontario EcoSchools for the past eight years and during that time, I’ve seen the steady growth of the program: from 108 certified schools in 2005 to 1,720 in 2015.

Long-lasting change takes place through concrete, concerted, and cumulative efforts. It often needs a group of dedicated individuals to share a collective vision. Change is most sustainable when all voices in a community are represented.

With this in mind, Ontario EcoSchools aims to engage all stakeholders in the school system – students, teachers, school staff, parents, community organizations, and school boards – for sector level change. By working together, a culture of conservation becomes deeply rooted and reflected in decision making.

This past year, we have seen amazing momentum across the province. Thanks to all the EcoTeams that led fun, brilliant, and innovative initiatives. Thanks to every school board that continues to support and celebrate certifying schools.


Thanks to our funders, community partners, program steering committee, volunteers, and staff that provide the solid foundation needed to strive towards our vision of ‘every school an EcoSchool’.

This system-wide approach resulted in:

  • 1,720 Ontario schools certifying from 55 school boards
  • Seven of the “Top 10 Energy Performing School Boards” being EcoSchools boards
  • Ontario EcoSchools being recognized by the 2016 Minister’s Award for Environmental Excellence

We are a vibrant community that advocates for change in the school system and beyond; we walk the talk and lead by example; we are a community addressing the pressing, intersecting issues of our time through daily actions.

Together we are building an education system that sees the environment as central to student achievement, and where students have the opportunity to be environmental leaders. This is why I’m happy to come to work each day, and why I’m excited for my child to start school next year.

I look forward to learning and growing with you in 2017 and onwards.

Supporting Student Leadership

Student leadership is at the core of the Ontario EcoSchools program. In 2015-16, there were over 49,000 students
participating in EcoTeams across Ontario.

First annual Youth EcoSummit

100 students from 19 different schools networked and were inspired by the keynote speaker, Honourable Glen Murray, Minister of Environment andClimate Change.

Energy Dashboard Pilot

12 schools from 2 school boards piloted the dashboard. Students can now monitor their school’s energy use to deepen learning and inform action.

EcoAction Challenge 2016

73 EcoTeams across 32 boards took up the Challenge, with 8 prize winners! EcoActions included: wildflower fundraising for Attiwapiskat, forest maintenance, and creating apps to monitor native species.

Youth Ecosummit Video

"Ontario EcoSchools is a very motivating and inspiring program that allows us students to really be more motivated to engage other people in the environment and this work."

-Student Participant, EcoSummit 2016

Supporting Schools

Teachers and school staff provide essential EcoTeam support. In the 1,720 EcoSchools certified in 2015-16,
we supported teachers through annual training opportunities.

"I am so proud of my students. They are only seven and eight years old and are already recognized as leaders in our school and our community.” 

Lynne Dubeau, EcoTeam lead teacher at Foyer-Jeunesse, CS public du Grand Nord de l'Ontario

Environmental Learning Resources

700 Local Food and Water Awareness kits downloaded; 1 student-featured School Ground Greening video produced.

EcoTeam Training

Ontario EcoSchools trained 622 teachers; school staff: 16 workshops delivered, 3 new northern communities reached, 3 community hubs established, 7 inspiring new webinars shared.

Energize- EcoSchool-Success-Stories

5 EcoSchool success stories shared; 2 school celebrations with local MPPs.

School Ground Greening 101 Video

"At La Mosaique we created a rich learning environment, where students study ecosystems, connect with nature, and learn about different types of native species. All the students in the school
are members of our EcoTeam.”

-Mr. Stefan Dixon, Principle,
La Mosaique ES, CS Viamonde 

Supporting School Boards

School boards encourage system-level change. We work with 55 school boards across the province
(76% of all school boards) that lead change through progressive policies and funding.
"Participating in the KickStart program provided me with much needed support...I was able to offer additional professional development to both NEW and re-certifying EcoSchools. I was also able to use the funding to improve the Environmental Youth Symposium.” 
- Katie Hashimoto, Grand Erie DSB 

Building Environmental Leadership

100 attendees participated in 4 networking sessions and 6 interactive workshops at our annual board conference. Topics ranged from watershed stewardship to outdoor art in all seasons.

KickStart Program

187 teachers trained, 1,030 students supported, 170 school staff celebrated through ‘KickStart’ - a program for school boards building their capacity for environmental action.

School Board Representatives

66 board-level staff work with Ontario EcoSchools to provide local expertise, after-school sessions, and to liaise with community partners. Ontario EcoSchools in turn, supports board representatives through consistent communications, resources, and annual training opportunities.

Thank You

A sincere thank you to the following groups for their generous support of the Ontario EcoSchools program.

Funders and Sponsors

Government of Ontario- Ministry of Education, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change


ECO Canada

Laidlaw Foundation

TD Friends of the Environment Foundation

York University


Back to Nature Network

Centre for Social Innovation



Environmental Defence


Learning for a Sustainable Future
Natural Curiosity

Project Neutral

World Wildlife Federation

York University

In-Kind Contributors

Edge Imaging

Green Living

Green Teacher

KIND Snacks

Park Bus

Scholastic Education

Toronto District School Board

World Wildlife Federation

Program Steering Committee

Lewis Molot, Chair, York university

Suzanne Burwell, Halton district school board

Judy Gould, Durham District School Board

Erin Keyzers, York Region District School Board

Erin Mutch, Thames Valley District School Board

Siobhan Shonk, Waterloo Region District School Board

Rachel Stewart, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

Shari Typer, Halton Catholic District School Board

Jenn Vetter, Toronto District School Board

Ron Ballentine, Alumni, Ontario EcoSchools Steering Committee Member

Eleanor Dudar, Alumni, Ontario EcoSchools Steering Committee Member


Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

York University

Advisory Committee

Tovah Barocas, Earth Rangers

Full-time staff

Carly Bardikoff

Melissa Benner

Sarah Bradley 

Lindsay Bunce

Tania Cheng

Kelly De Fogain

Sierra Frank

Theresa Ramirez

Elanor Waslander


Nadia Alick

Kim Baxter

Meagan Dargavel

Annie Dearden

Nancy Drynan

Jana Dumas

Assessors Continued

Morgan Elias

Ayelet Freedman

Melaina Gasbarrino

Hayley Goodchild

Kelly Laforet

Wendy Mansfield

Rebecca McQuaid

Jody Mitchell

Jonathan Newman

Alexa Pompilio

Emma Prendergast

Sarah Prior 

Denis Raymond

Alexandra Scarlett 

Anita Smith

Anelia Tichkova

Jordan Vanwiechen

Assessors Continued

Kristan Verhaeghe

Clare Weissflog

Alison Williams

Jenna Zardo

Part-time staff

Louis Courteau

Ariel Estulin

Cristina Guido 

Chris Hummell


Janice Hardacre

Tiffany Ho

Jennie McDougall 

Thansha Sadacharam

School Board Partners 

Ontario EcoSchools Board Representatives


Algonquin Lakeshore Catholic District School Board

Avon Maitland District School Board

Bluewater District School Board

Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board

Catholic District School Board Of Ontario

Conseil Des Écoles Catholiques Du Centre-Est

Conseil Des Écoles Publiques De L’Est De L’Ontario

Conseil Scolaire Catholique Du Nouvel-Ontario

Conseil Scolaire De District Catholique Centre-Sud

Conseil Scolaire De District Catholique De L'Est Ontarien

Conseil Scolaire De District Catholique Des Aurores Boréales

Conseil Scolaire Catholique Providence

Conseil Scolaire Public Du Grand Nord De L'Ontario

Conseil Scolaire Public Du Nord-Est De L’Ontario

Conseil Scolaire Viamonde

District School Board Of Niagara

Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board

Durham Catholic District School Board

Durham District School Board

Grand Erie District School Board

Greater Essex County District School Board

Halton Catholic District School Board

Halton District School Board

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board

Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board

Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board

Lakehead Public School Board

Lambton Kent District School Board

Limestone District School Board

London District Catholic District School Board

Niagara Catholic District School Board

Ottawa Carleton District School Board

Ottawa Catholic School Board

Peel District School Board

Peterborough Victoria Northumberland Clarington Catholic District School Board

Provincial Schools

Rainbow District School Board

Simcoe County District School Board

Simcoe Muskoka Cath District School Board

Superior Greenstone District School Board

Thames Valley District School Board

Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board

Toronto District School Board

Toronto Catholic District School Board

Trillium Lakeland District School Board

Upper Canada District School Board

Upper Grand District School Board

Waterloo Region District School Board

Waterloo Catholic District School Board

Wellington Catholic District School Board

Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board

York Catholic District School Board

York District School Board


Michael Bibby

Crystal Gascho, Daniel Keys

Deborah Diebel

Joe Ernst

Tanya Sesbreno

Roxanne Coupal, Natalie Lavigne

Julie McLean

Lyse Anne Papineau

Christine Lachapelle

Céline Lafrance

Thérèse Dechêne

Monique Castonguay

Gilbert Lacroix

Mathieu Perron

Angèle Ruder

Corey Beliveau, Marni MacDonald

Vicky An, Rachel Stewart

Carol Stott, Scott Grieve

Judy Gould

Katie Hashimoto

Al Cook, Vince Perta

Shari Typer, Paul Deoni

Suzanne Burwell

Aaron Puley

Paul Beaudette

Lori Lynn Stapleton

Colleen Kappel, Jason Pilot

Heather Curl

Joe Hendry

Joe Bezzina

Elizabeth Davies

Tom Thistle

Kristen Charles

Tracy Appleton

Sarah Taylor

Kathy Lewis

David Wiwchar

Jessica Kukac, Kayla Kalalian

Kathy Van Dewark

Dave Tamblyn

Erin Mutch

Alma Provenzano

Jenn Vetter, Pam Miller, Erin Wood

Stefan Martens, Bruno Pileggi

Heather Truscott

Kim Machan

Megan Haessler, Karen Acton, Ian Macpherson

Siobhan Shonk

John Shewchuk, Elena Kraljevska

Karen Thwaites

Mike St. Pierre, Julie Di Domenico

Larry Tadman

Erin Keyzers