"In cities, children desperately need to experience nature, to discover their kinship with other living beings,
to find that we all share the planet with each other and to celebrate the miracle that all life on earth can be.”
— David Suzuki
Annette St. PS is a gold-certified EcoSchool. Students and teachers at Annette benefit from a variety of outdoor classrooms including a bird habitat, two butterfly habitats, a food garden and an edible forest garden. The committee works with teachers and students to plan, plant and maintain our gardens. We support our school's efforts in energy conservation, waste minimization, ecological literacy and building healthy communities. We regularly partner with the Arts Committee on outdoor and indoor art projects which raise awareness of our connection to the natural environment.
New committee members are welcome: send us a message or come to an Environment Committee meeting (see the calendar!)
[Photo: Green Man masks created by Annette students for Ghost River with ceramicist Paul Stewart]
A river under our school?! Students at Annette St. PS and High Park Alternative School were surprised to learn that one of Toronto’s Lost Rivers runs right under their playground and school building. At an Earth Day assembly in the spring they heard from local historian Gib Goodfellow that the street corner across from the yard was once known as the “Beauty Spot”. A gentle stream flowed beneath a bridge where friends would meet beneath the shade of the forested valley. The only sign of the river now is the curve in the road and the sound of rushing water from the sewer grates. How could we bring back a sense of wonder and pride in this buried river? Could we find out where the stream flows? How could we let our neighbours know about this secret river and of the need to take care of our watershed?
With the support of our EcoSchools committee, a core team of three parents and three teachers launched the Ghost River project. Combining classroom teaching focused on water stewardship and the river ecosystem with hands-on art-making, Ghost River brought together over two hundred and fifty students (JK-8), fourteen teachers and twenty parent volunteers. Turning the heads of passersby, Ghost River is an outdoor art installation on our school fence featuring painted fish and a spectacular ecosystem of glass mosaic fish, turtles and frogs. The “puzzling together” of pieces of broken glass brought out the best in the students as they problem-solved co-operatively. They learned of the interconnectedness of our world and felt empowered to bring about change through their actions. Students tracked the buried river’s course south as it flows to High Park and Grenadier Pond and discovered its name — Wendigo Creek. More art and science projects are in the works as our school community makes new connections to water and the Ghost River! Thanks to Project FLOW for a grant of $1,300 for art materials! Click here for photos.
nd humans, including eco-art and a seating area on city land at the southwest corner of Annette and Clendenan Avenues. The garden was planted in the spring of 2011 with students, teachers and parents (see the Site Plan and Plant List) We are grateful to our funders for their support of this exciting new initiative:
The City of Toronto through a Neighbourhood Beautification Grant of $4,000
TD Friends of the Environment Foundation grant of $2,500
Launched in 2008, the Food Garden now supports a Garden Club of 50 children as well as providing hands-on learning opportunities for classroom teaching in ecology, biology, agriculture, nutrition, history, language and the arts. Thanks to Food Share, Toronto Public Health, Downtown Lumber, parent volunteers and teachers for their ongoing support. Garden Resources are available here!
Annette PS is now one of ten Soil Power! schools which received a 3-bin composting system thanks to Food Share. We are busy composting coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable scraps from the daycare and the staffroom. Classes are able to visit the compost for educational purposes. Food Share gave several free workshops to classrooms to celebrate the bin's arrival in April 2010. This is a wonderful addition to our recycling and green bin programs!
Walk or Wheel Wednesdays
Annette and HPAS promote active transportation to school through Walk or Wheel Wednesdays. We are grateful for support from Active and Safe Routes to School. Students make announcements, posters, and signs to promote healthy sustainable ways to get to school. "Walking" is defined as ABC: anything but taking a car (bike, walk, blade, TTC). “Walk it” buttons are given to students participating in this initiative. We successfully initiated Walking Wednesdays during October 2009 to tie in with the International Walk to School program. We celebrated Winter Walk to School Day in 2011 and continue to build on this initiative. As Toronto's Bike Month approaches, consider cycling to work and school with your children.
Hearts for Haiti Craft Fundraiser
The Annette Eco Club as well as the two grade three classes at Annette have created gorgeous crafts for sale, raising over $1,000 so far for Free the Children’s work in Haiti. Our fundraising efforts are directed towards long term water projects in Haiti. Hair elastics and hair bands with felted flowers are available as well as gift
cards with heart patches, wrist heart cuffs, handmade journals/sketch books, bookmarks, binder clips, pencils, key rings, felted toys & needle felted hearts. More info here.
Our walking initiative was tied to Let the Sneakers Walk Again, a campaign to collect used shoes for donation to Haiti. Bob Stronach from Annette and Betty Lynn from HPAS coordinated the collection of shoes. The huge turnout of shoes was inspiring and empowered the students to make new connections between social justice and recycling.