Annual Environmental & Sustainability Education Conference

2023 Conference: Accelerating Climate Change Education

logo for the TDSB/OISE collaboration in climate change ed

Saturday, October 28, 2023  

With the climate crisis intensifying in our communities - wildfire smoke, drought, extreme weather, and pollution - how can educators and their students work towards a better future? This year’s TDSB/OISE conference on Saturday, October 28, 2023, was designed to help equip K-12 educators with tools to accelerate Climate Change Education (CCE) in their classrooms, with an emphasis on justice and local action. This free, hybrid conference brought together TDSB educators and staff with OISE community members to explore a wide range of inspiring ideas, strategies, and resources to foster CCE in K-12 classrooms. Educators  learned from keynote speaker Elder Dr. Duke Redbird, experienced workshop leaders, and local organizations about involving students in climate change learning that is transformative, action-oriented, and community-driven. 

Keynote Address: Dr. Duke Redbird, Elder, Poet, Human Rights Activist, Educator, and Artist
Elder Dr. Duke Redbird has had a decades-long focus on the environment and the hugely positive impact on Mother Earth from caregivers with an Indigenous lens. He  explained the Indigenous Food Forest and its inspirational relationship to the Seven Ancestral (Grandfather) teachings, as well as the vital influence that Experiential Learning can have on students of every age. Link to the keynote can be viewed here

Lessons From the Land: Indigenous Food Sovereignty Part 1 - Tanya Senk
Lessons From the Land: Indigenous Food Sovereignty as Climate Action - Laurie LaBrecque
Climate change by the numbers: math as a tool for awareness, allyship and advocacy - Michelle Munk
Climate Change Through Games - Veronica Uzielli & Elaine Kenny
Connecting Kids with Climate Action - Nancy Gillis
Teaching for Climate Justice: Pedagogies for Transformation - Maria Vamvalis
CEEDs of Liberation: Teaching Climate Education for Student Transformation - Zamani Ra
Empowering our Youngest Learners: Changing Climate Anxiety into Climate Action - Bonnie Anderson 
Crash Course in Engaging Students in Climate Change Education - Pam Miller

2022 Conference

ESE Conference Logo 2022

Saturday November 19, 2022

How can we re-connect with community to develop agency and resilience in a climate crisis? What can we learn from diverse voices and creative approaches to envision an equitable future for all life on this planet? This conference explores how K-12 educators and their students can help to build networks that support relationship and reciprocity to create just and sustainable communities. This free hybrid conference takes place on Saturday November 19, 2022, and will involve a keynote talk, in-person and online workshops, a luncheon, and an EcoFair. It is open to all TDSB educators & staff, members of the OISE community, as well as others in education.

This annual conference is hosted collaboratively by the TDSB’s Sustainability Office and OISE’s Sustainability & Climate Action Network.


Keynote Address:

Dr. Paul Elliott & Jacob Rodenburg -  Creating a Pathway to Stewardship and Kinship: It Takes a Village

By working collaboratively, educators and other caring adults can work together to raise children who care for each other and for the Earth.  The Pathway to Stewardship and Kinship is a project that strives to realize this aim. Drawing on research and Indigenous teachings, it identifies age-appropriate landmark experiences from birth to 18 that we believe all young people should have to become engaged stewards. Join Dr. Paul Elliott (Trent University), and Jacob Rodenburg (author of Big Book of Nature) as they share more about this innovative community project that  provides a road map for teachers, early years’ educators, parents and other adults on how to foster healthy children for a healthy planet.


Building Our Roots: Learning from Youth Climate Activists - Emiko Newman and Megan Pham}
A Treaty Guide for Torontonians' Artful Activation - Ange Loft
Building Community Partnerships for Climate Justice - Allie Rougeot
Exploring Indigenous Presence and Educational Opportunities Along the Humber River - Mike Izzo
Change Agents in Classrooms: Cultivating Energy, Optimism and Allyship in the New Generations - Areej Riaz
Supporting Student-led Action for Sustainability and Climate Justice - Melanie Williams}
Grant writing for Youth-led Climate Action Projects: Keys to success - Michèle Martin
Exploring Climate Justice through Arts-based Learning - Hilary Inwood
Citizen Science - Paul Elliot
Your Better Sense of Nature - Jacob Rodenburg
Natural Curiosity: The Importance of Indigenous Perspectives in Children’s Environmental Inquiry and Climate Action in Schools - Velvet LaCasse



2021 Conference

climate courage

Last year’s TDSB/OISE EcoSchools conference focused on encouraging K-12 educators to renew their courage and commitment to engaging their students in learning about climate change and sustainability. We heard from a range of inspiring and diverse voices, and learned innovative approaches and teaching strategies for engaging our schools and communities in climate change education.

Keynote Address:

Dr. Sarah Jaquette Ray: "Teaching at the End of the World: A Climate Justice Toolkit for Educators"

What does this historical moment demand of environmental educators? How can we attune our pedagogy to respond to the existential dimensions of planetary crisis and injustice for ourselves and our students? In this talk, Dr. Ray will argue that environmental education in a time of profound climate emergency must be trauma-informed, draw on wisdom traditions for resilience and interconnectedness, and embolden the psycho-social strengths of our diverse students.


Redefining Support For Outdoor Learning In Schools - Sylvia Denton Carryl and David Hawker-Budlovsky (TDSB)
Engaging Students On the Land in Indigenous Education - Mike Izzo (TDSB)
Environmental Racism, Justice and Sustainability in Education: Empowering Student Advocacy - Michael Giffen & Matt Webbe
From Anxiety to Agency: Transformative Pedagogies to Inspire Climate Action - Maria Vamvalis (OISE)
The Value of Inclusion and Accessibility in Environmental & Sustainability Education -  David Anderson (York University)
Planet, People, Prosperity, Peace, and Partnerships: Teaching through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) -  Pamela Gibson (LSF)
Mapping Climate, Equity and K-12 Environmental Education Programs - Helen Toledo (EcoRise)
Nature-Based Mindfulness - Helen Gault and Angela Ventrice (Mindfulness Everyday)

Past Conferences

Climate of Change: Environmental Education in Action  - February 2017

Health, Wellness & Sustainability - January 2018

Engaging with EcoJustice - October 2018

A New Climate: Climate Action in Our Classrooms -  October 2019

Exploring the Nature of Cities (national conference) - April 2021

Climate Courage: Educators Addressing the Climate Crisis - October 2021