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Down to Earth
June 2016
Earth Day Canada



Summer is here – join us outside for adventure play!

Children at Play

Earth PlayEarth Day Canada’s new EarthPLAY program is off to a fast and fantastic start! Our pilot project, focused on bringing Outdoor Play and Learning strategies (OPAL) into six elementary schools in Toronto, saw UK play expert Michael Follett and Canadian children’s writer Kenneth Oppel host a lively symposium last month on the importance of child-led, unstructured play outside the classroom.

“The most important learning in elementary school is done through self-directed play,” explained Michael. “There is no neutral position in this area: You are either teaching competence or teaching incompetence. If you adopt a play-supportive culture in your school, you are supporting children’s most fundamental learning schema, how they come to understand themselves in the world.”

Michael giving a lessonMichael has also been working closely with our six TDSB schools to develop a charter for children’s play – this will help guide the strategy in creating more enriched play opportunities for all schools.
In the wake of this exciting momentum, each school is organizing their own Adventure Play Days and OPAL-supported programming for next year. Just watching how a few cardboard boxes, piping and other loose parts can change how students play, learn and socialize has teachers gushing over the results:

“What a fantastic mix of outdoor time, freedom to play with VERY cool recycled materials, to create, and to naturally collaborate,” says Leigh McCarthy, a Grade 3 teacher at St. Anthony CES in Thornhill, Ont., the site of a recent POP-UP Adventure Playground hosted by EDC's EarthPlay team “The kids were a little shocked that they were being given absolute freedom to use real tires and refrigerator boxes to create forts and outlandish structures … Children that often exhibit behavioural challenges in class or at recess were unrecognizable in the flow of creating and collaborating.”

International Mud DayExperience an EarthPLAY event for yourself!

For those in the GTA, we will be hosting a public POP-UP Adventure Playground at the Fairmount Farmers’ Market on International Mud Day, June 29, from 3:30 to 7 pm EDT. Bring your kids out to watch how they engage in true adventure play.

Stay tuned for more information about upcoming POP-UP Adventure Playgrounds!



Get your one-of-a-kind ‘Moose Proud’ print before we run out!

Proud Moose
Our 25th Anniversary Earth Flag, unveiled this past Earth Day, marks a historic moment — the day Canada joined countries around the world to sign the new international agreement on climate change. At the centre of the new flag is “Moose Proud,” an original design by Charles Pachter, one of this country’s most renowned artists, best known for his iconic images of the queen, moose and maple leaf flag. Earth Day Canada is incredibly fortunate to have this original design on our flag.

We also have a very special offer for our network of supporters:

A small number of limited-edition “Moose Proud” prints are available for sale ($1,000.00 each, unframed). If you are interested in purchasing one of these — with proceeds going toward Earth Day Canada’s award-winning programs — please email or call 416-599-1991 to reserve your print now!



Superpower your School Contest winners announced!

  Students from George S. Henry Academy react upon winning the $25,000 prize
Students from George S. Henry Academy react upon winning the $25,000 prize.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 Staples Superpower your School Contest!

Earth Day Canada and Staples Canada were thrilled to receive almost 630 entries to this year’s contest, and were truly inspired by all of the schools doing their part to protect the planet through innovative projects and programs, from vermicomposting systems to eco-focused film festivals.

We are excited to announce the 10 outstanding winners selected to receive $25,000 each toward the purchase of new technology from Staples Canada.

Check out the full list of 2016 winners here.



Tapestry leaders tackle environmental psychology

Tapestry session

This month, our Tapestry Program – which aims to improve diversity and inclusion within the environmental sector – along with the Enviro Leaders Academy (a division of Access Alliance), co-hosted two lively and engaging workshops. Omid Alaei, Vice President of the Parya Trillium Foundation spoke about the emerging field of environmental psychology and the mental barriers that can prevent people from taking action against climate change. This was followed by a valuable session on public speaking, which will help Tapestry leaders in their efforts to mobilize larger communities.



You made a difference by #Rooting4Trees!

Our 25th anniversary crowdfunding campaign #Rooting4Trees has officially wrapped up — and what a huge success it was! In fact, so many people tried to come to on April 22nd that it crashed our website, which was … exciting! We also had a steady stream of people coming to forest-bathe outside our headquarters to help promote the campaign, including former Green Party leader Jim Harris, celebrated author and economist Jeff Rubin, and local MPP Cheri DiNovo.

Thanks to your support, we've helped grow Canada's forests with thousands of new trees, including saplings and mature species, each one specifically chosen to thrive in its surroundings. Nearly 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide will be sequestered in the coming decades, because of your contributions; that's like taking almost 1,500 cars off the road.

A special thanks to some of our biggest treehuggers: Ardene, Morguard, Aramark, KPMG, U-File, and Moxie's, along with CN for funding a nation-wide school contest to win a $5,000 custom forest. And an extra thank-you to our planting partners at Tree Canada for helping to coordinate such a large-scale, strategic reforestation effort.



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©2016 Earth Day® Canada
The word mark “Earth Day” and the Earth Day logo are registered trademarks of Earth Day Canada (1991) Inc. Charitable registration # 13195 1378RR0001. Use of either of these trademarks for mercantile, promotional and communication purpose is strictly forbidden without the written approval of Earth Day Canada.
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