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Environmental and Sustainability Education

OISE Projects

OISE Community Learning Garden

A group of students and faculty have created of a Community Learning Garden in front of OISE’s main building to support integrated learning about ESE, aboriginal education and equity education in our graduate and teacher education programs. These plantgardens can become symbolic and physical manifestations for collaborative learning around social and ecological learning across all of OISE’s programs, and act as demonstration sites to inspire our students to integrate nature-based learning into their own personal and professional lives in future.  The group is always looking for new members.

Environmental Art 

Members of the OISE community have been at work on environmentally-themed artworks for the stairwells of our main building, creating a unique art gallery.  The aim is to encourage OISE members and visitors to 'take the stairs' more often, reducing the amount of energy it takes run our lage bank of elevators (the single largest use of electrivity in the building.)  Click here to view more details on our Eco-Art Projects.

FLAP - Fatal Light Awareness Program

A team of OISE students and faculty partnered to help raise awareness of FLAP with an eco-art project in the spring 2012. Over 300 handmade prints of birds were created and distributed to all of the exterior offices in the OISE building, reminding faculty and staff to do their part to reduce the number of bird deaths around the building in the spring and fall migration seasons.  The prints act as artistic reminders for people to close their office blinds each night, turn off their overhead office lights, and use task-focused lighting. View more informationn on this project here



Natural Curiosity at ICS

Established in 1925, The Laboratory School at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study (OISE) is an elementary school for children in Nursery to Grade 6 that is based on an Inquiry-based philosophy of education.  Teachers at The Lab School build children’s understanding of the world through Environmental Inquiry, an overarching approach to environmental and sustainability education that brings the following four branches together in a dynamic and cohesive relationship: Inquiry-based Learning, Experiential Learning, Integrated Learning, and Stewardship. In 2009, The Laboratory School at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study embarked on an Environmental Education Initiative to share the Environmental Inquiry approach with Ontario elementary school teachers. A main objective of this Initiative was to develop a comprehensive resource document aimed at providing Ontario elementary school teachers with reassurance, clarity, and options for putting Environmental Inquiry into practice. This resource, Natural Curiosity: The Importance of Indigenous Perspectives and Children's Environmental Inquiry, is available in print and web-based format online here.

OISE’s Eco-Fair

This annual event is held at OISE each year to help to share educational initiatives in ESE by local community organizations and NGOs, including Ontario Ecoschools, Live Green, Evergreen, Learning for a Sustainable Future, and Foodshare, to name only a few. OISE students and faculty are able to talk with each NGO’s representatives and gain an awareness of the valuable work that they do. The Eco-Fair has also been a terrific opportunity for students to network for internships positions and future professional opportunities in ESE. Click here to view more information on the Eco-Fair.

OISE Building Upgrades

OISE has been working towards a greater level of sustainability in its physical plant over the last few years. While challenging to do in a building first opened in the 1960s, OISE has managed in recent years to improve its energy conservation measures. New light fixtures, bulbs and motion sensitive timers have reduced the amount of electricity used, as have a new fleet of elevators (which are the greatest draw on power in the building.) Upgrades to the HVAC systems and the addition of solar films on two sides of the building have also reduced energy consumption. Automatic flush toilets are helping to reduce the amount of water used, as are controlled water flow systems in the washroom sinks. Recycling has been in effect for a number of years already, and green bins for organic waste were added this year. Plans to decrease the building’s ecological footprint in the new year include adding a water bottle filling station in the student lounge on the 5th floor, creating an educational garden in the adjoining parkette, and mounting a campaign to encourage greater stair use. 

OISE Worms

Worms are the latest addition to the OISE ESE Team!  This active group of Red Wrigglers munch, chomp and chew their way through donations of food scraps from OISE students, turning green waste into green gold, which is used to nourish the Community Learning Garden.  The worms' experiential approach to teaching and learning models the power of vermi-composting quickly and quietly, appealing to a variety of learning styles and multiple intelligences.   Available to educate and entertain during classes, workshops, parties, or any OISE gathering; contact ese.oise@utoronto.ca for more information