Edward Burtynsky Award
Grand Prize Winner
Lake Superior High School (Terrace Bay, Ontario)
Chris Dube is an educator at Lake Superior High School in Terrace Bay ON who is passionate about creating experiential programming and authentic learning experiences for students. Chris developed a locally-focused yet globally relevant multi-credit Outdoor Environmental Science (OES) program based on the Ontario Curriculum documents Healthy Living and Outdoor Activities and Environmental Science. The OES program consists entirely of hands-on project-based learning activities, employing authentic and alternative assessment methods and Indigenous ways of teaching and learning. The program naturally incorporates four areas of priority: Indigenous Education, Community Development, Mental Health and Well-being, and Experiential Learning.
The majority of the course is spent on the land with First Nations members, local community members, peers, and local business and community organizations to learn beyond the walls of the school. The idea is that students and the greater community will collaboratively develop authentic projects and goals that foster both student learning and community growth and development. This collaborative, authentic, student centered, locally-focused approach to experiential education allows for students to recognize potential areas for their involvement, understand their role and responsibilities in the community, understand their goals for self-development and growth, and actualize projects that have a real impact on their community.
Linda Ryan & Carmelina
Joanne Dunn, Meera Bandechha, Aleesha Bird, Isabelle Tang, Sarah Wallace, Rhonda Stark, James Taylor
Louise Arbour Secondary School, Peel District School Board (Brampton, Ontario)
Glenlyon Norfolk School (Victoria, BC)
Linda Ryan and Carmelina (Carm) Figliomeni-Crupi have provided instrumental leadership and a model of teamwork to the students and community to broaden and deepen Indigenous environmental education and stewardship throughout their careers. They are co-supervisors, and inseparable partners, of the EcoSquad club at Louise Arbour Secondary School of the Peel District School Board in Brampton, Ontario.
Carm and Linda create opportunities for students to engage in Indigenous and inquiry learning, and to collaborate on sustainability issues. Linda embeds Indigenous ways of knowing and being into the science curriculum. In biology, students investigate the principle of Etuaptmumk or “two-eyed seeing” by using both European and Indigenous perspectives in plant uses and classification. In chemistry, students research the impacts of water contamination on First Nations communities and share their findings in discussion posts. Carm has centered the English courses around Indigenous teachings, and uses the school’s medicine garden to help students understand their interconnectedness to treaty lands.
Over the last decade, Carm and Linda have mentored over 400 students through the EcoSquad club. EcoSquad demonstrates teamwork and leadership to facilitate recycling programs, regular waste audits and minimization programs, energy conservation, and school greening efforts. Students have collaborated with field environmentalists in a project to save turtles in the Heart Lake Conservation area by assisting to track turtles and creating decoys used to encourage turtles to nest and bask in areas that keep them safe from vehicle traffic. They have also been instrumental in creating relationships with the City of Brampton and have facilitated stewardship opportunities for students to restore the wood lot at the local park.
Linda and Carm have coordinated building-wide practices that have allowed the school to achieve the prestigious EcoSchools’ Platinum Certification and have been key leaders in larger school projects including the building and maintenance of an Indigenous medicine garden and outdoor classroom. Linda and Carm arranged for the Eco-Squad to meet with Indigenous Elders during the initial design-planning process and collaborated with an Indigenous-owned greenhouse on the Six Nations territory, and organized the Drumming and Blessing ceremony to dedicate this garden with Elders from the Peel Aboriginal Network. Linda and Carm have also organized the planting of native species gardens around the school that supply food to the school’s hospitality program and the building of a greenhouse.
Linda and Carm’s collaboration with students, Indigenous leaders, and the community provides a deep commitment to Indigenous and environmental education and stewardship.
Glenlyon Norfolk School educators Joanne Dunn and Meera Bandechha (Junior Kindergarten), Aleesha Bird and Isabelle Tang (Kindergarten), Sarah Wallace and Rhonda Stark (Grade 5) and Indigenous Educator/ Knowledge Keeper James Taylor have utilized the IB Primary Years Programme to draw on the experience of Nature School.
Their outdoor classroom provides every opportunity for all students to succeed and thrive. In previous years, they have all passionately incorporated different aspects of inquiry-based teachings outdoors. However, this year they decided to unite their passion to build an excellent curriculum together. With this new collaboration, they brought the students to also work together to build butterfly gardens, teach inquiry through beekeeping, develop school gardens, explore food sustainability, dig into the wonders of composting, and stewardship of the land. Older and younger students educated each other—building confidence, independence, and community. There is a power to having the oldest students in the school teaching and learning with the youngest.
Working with James Taylor, Grade 5 students delved into our land acknowledgment, unpacked it, and taught the Junior School the meaning behind the words. Teaching the land acknowledgment helped educate the students to understand their surroundings and responsibility to land and its culture.
GNS’ outdoor curriculum is designed to integrate children with their natural world and engage them in quality outdoor learning that stimulates their innate curiosity and imagination. With daily access to the waterfront and the plethora of marine wildlife, the Beach Campus is a magical place to work, teach and play.