Milton School and Halton School Board Lead New Approach to Climate Change Challenges

By Gene Pereira

Published on October 5, 2022 at 12:40 p.m.

Goals of the Climate Ready Schools project include supporting a significant increase in outdoor play and learning. PEXELS PHOTO

Irma Coulson Public School in Milton and the Halton District School Board are teaming up with Evergreen to help fight climate change.

The Climate Ready Schools project, designed to meet the challenges of climate change, will be unveiled Thursday, October 6 at the local public school located at 625 Sauve Street.

The first of its kind in Canada, the project offers a phased approach to addressing climate change and designing schoolyards.

The overall goal is to help mitigate the effects of climate change by cooling outdoor learning sites with shade and better managing stormwater infiltration to minimize flooding.

“This is a truly exciting partnership between the Halton District School Board and Evergreen, drawing on the expertise of many professionals around the world and the generosity of several donors,” said Ian Gaudet, Superintendent of services to HDSB facilities.

“This project offers many concepts in an inspiring and revitalized schoolyard that supports HDSB’s student-led climate statement, designed to address climate change mitigation.”

“The layout and structure of this Climate Ready School site offers many opportunities for the cognitive, physical, emotional and social development of students,” continues Gaudet. “It supports HDSB’s outdoor play and learning administrative process, and supports many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, including ‘Sustainable Cities’ and ‘Communities and Climate Action’.”

The Climate Ready Schools project gives HDSB the ability to create developmentally enhanced experiences for students in which they can meaningfully connect with the environment.

This project involves a unique child-friendly participatory design and public engagement process to address the redevelopment.

HDSB staff will be able to share their knowledge and experiences, develop new approaches to outdoor learning in other schools, engage municipalities in reinventing school ground design, and provide a improved intragenerational space for the wider community.

“This opportunity to look beyond a small garden or outdoor learning space is exciting as it relates to the focus area of ​​HDSB’s 2020-2024 Multi-Year Environmental Leadership Plan – taking action for a sustainable world, including the design and management of learning environments that demonstrate a commitment to sustainable development,” says Suzanne Burwell, environmental sustainability specialist for the HDSB.

“This project is already changing the way we design schoolyards for new schools being built. It also raises the importance of thoughtful school ground design that considers the value of green spaces on all areas of student well-being and development.

Project objectives include adaptation to climate change through on-site stormwater management and moderation of temperature and wind speed; promote the physical, intellectual, emotional and social development of the child; support a significant increase in outdoor play and learning; serve the community by adding value outside of school hours; and addressing site challenges that lead to soil erosion and poor drainage.

“Schoolyards provide a sense of place that builds pride and ownership of public space for children and the community by encouraging participation, stewardship, and a deep connection to the natural world,” says Lois Lindsay, Director of Programs at Evergreen.

“The Climate Ready Schools program is the next step in our more than 25-year legacy of transforming schoolyards across the country, showing how schools and communities play a central role in adapting to climate change.”

The community part of the unveiling begins at 6 p.m. at Irma Couslon PS.

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