Students protesting the closing of an environmental school at Bronte Creek.

“The clearly visible impacts of climate change are accelerating and are threatening to disrupt the lives of billions of people around the world. Notably the lives and livelihoods of younger generations are at stake. Acting now with better education can have a major impact a few years down the road, when young people come of age and can make the decisions that shape society” – Climate Education Initiatives Pick up Pace. United Nations Climate Change article, May 2, 2019

News 100 greenBy Staff

May 30th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Youth are aware of this and are demanding change. They want action to prevent irreversible destruction of our planet and to ensure a future for themselves and their descendants. Across the world, environmental skills and awareness are needed to bring about this change.

At the same time, 12% of Canadian children ages 9-19 are affected by mood and anxiety disorders. Less than 20 per cent of these children will receive appropriate treatment. Children and teens with mental illness symptoms are at much higher risk of experiencing mental illness as adults.

BCP planting trees

Students on a school environmental project – planting trees.

There is a large body of both experimental and observational evidence supporting the beneficial impact of the natural environment on mental well-being. Studies indicate that connection to nature is significantly related to lower levels of overall, state cognitive and trait cognitive anxiety.

Imagine if these two critical issues of our time, environmental stewardship and mental health, could be simultaneously addressed.

We don’t have to imagine. A school that can achieve this already exists. For 35 years, a school in Halton Region has been offering experiential environmental leadership high school education programs for grades 9-10 (Trailhead) and 11-12 (The Bronte Creek Project) including a Specialist High Skills Major in the Environment. These programs are offered to all students in the region who are interested in the environment and take place in a natural setting which promotes social and mental well-being. A highly dedicated staff imparts academic excellence and develops environmental expertise in their students.

Testimonials over the long years of their existence attest to the success of these programs. This is best conveyed through the words of the students themselves:

BCP student“Being at BCP (The Bronte Creek Project) so far has changed my life and will continue to. I love it so much, it is so healthy being out in nature all day, and for people with anxiety, it is really beneficial. Being in BCP gives you a new perspective on life, how it is changing and how it will continue to change if we can’t do something about climate change.” – Current BCP student

“Although it was 23 years ago, the BCP remains … the greatest experience of my entire life … I wanted my own kids to take this program.” – BCP student from 1996 class

The Halton District School Board is now ending these programs as a cost-cutting move.

These programs are a vital solution and there is no alternative in the school system. They should be the model for education that produces healthier and better adjusted adults to guide our society through the challenges and uncertain times ahead.

For the sake of our future, for our children’s future, the decision to end these programs is unacceptable and must be reversed.

Our goal is to obtain as many signatures as possible in a short period of time, before June 19th 2019.

Please use the #KeepBCPandTrailheadRunning when sharing or discussing this campaign on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

Sarah Judd signed this petition

Jessica Kennedy signed 2 hours ago

Lisa Richardson signed 2 hours ago

1,835 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!

You too can sign the petition – CLICK here.

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2 comments to Students protesting the closing of an environmental school at Bronte Creek.

  • Lynn Crosby

    Here is the link: https://www.change.org/p/reverse-decision-to-end-school-environmental-leadership-programs.

    Ontario should be a leader in education – we should set a standard in excellence. How about going to one school system and eliminating the Catholic school board? That would cut duplication and costs considerably and we are long past being able to justify why we have two systems and why one religion gets publicly funded education.

    Look at the administrative costs – how many superintendents does each board really need? Don’t get me started on the administrative costs of the transportation consortiums. It’s worth looking into that and asking why the French board left the consortium HSTS to pay considerably higher administrative costs with Francobus. Look at who sits on the boards of the transportation consortiums. Heck, try to get a straight answer about the costs.

    The recent PAR was all about giving students more course options. How is it that the new government, the one that complained about the PAR process and promised to do better, is now funding in a manner that takes almost all the specialized courses away? Who says classes with fewer than 20 students can’t be funded? Blow up the funding model and start again. Why would Ontario be proud to offer less to our students? The HDSB should take a stand that says they will not take programs like this one away, regardless of what the Province is doing.

    Perhaps the next thing will be to look at school boards themselves – I suspect Ford & Co. is looking at that too. They may disappear entirely or partly. This may be the tip of the iceberg. The question is why cut and slash the things that directly impact the students, rather than first doing a proper study of the entire system, and looking at future trends and what our students should be learning to get ahead in the global world in which they will be living. If our students can’t compete, they won’t be hired and they won’t thrive, and we will all suffer for it.

    • Louise F.

      I was educated in the public system, my kids in the Catholic so I’m a supporter of both systems.
      But how about a little thing called The British North America Act which provided for the Catholic system? Catholics were a HUGE part of establishing the fabric of Canada. There have been Catholic schools in this country for 400 years. Almost 40% of Canadians are Catholic. So really, you have to ask why “one religion” gets publicly funded education?
      This is a specialized course. What high school student wouldn’t rather be outside than in a classroom? Courses like these are a luxury, not a necessity.

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