Above: Representatives from area school boards sign the historic agreement.
Grand Erie Joins Historic Climate Change Partnership with Mohawk College, Area School Boards
A popular mantra was referenced during the launch event of a new partnership between Mohawk College and nine area school boards: “If you want to travel quickly, go alone. If you want to travel far, go together.”
Right: Director of Education Brenda Blancher and Student Trustee Alex Hauser both signed a solar panel in a show of partnership with Mohawk College and nine area school boards to work towards climate goals.
Members of Grand Erie District School Board’s Senior Administration Team and Trustees were on hand at Mohawk College on Tuesday as Director Brenda Blancher signed the voluntary agreement on behalf of the board. Together, the partnership will go far towards the goals of reducing carbon footprints, improving energy conservation in school buildings and board facilities, and providing opportunities for more than a quarter of a million Ontario students through curriculum connections and experiential learning.
“The climate change initiative, working together with nine other school boards and Mohawk College as co-learners and co-leaders in this area, will help inform and direct our journey as a school board as we extend our energy saving and conservation efforts,” said Blancher. “It leverages the good work we are already doing around the Eco Schools initiative, our energy conservation efforts with conversion to LED lighting in all buildings, metered flow faucets and low-flow toilets, and our conservation measures with any new construction.”
Right: Student Trustee Alex Hauser adds her name to the solar panel, marking a collective commitment aiming to reduce carbon footprints.
Blancher points out the partnership will also initiate meetings of school board staff to discuss various curriculum expectations in the STEAM areas – science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics – and how these subject areas can be enhanced with modules on the impact of climate change. The partnership will also provide opportunities for co-op placements, apprenticeships, and the exploration of career pathways.
“From the student perspective, it might not always seem like our leaders are doing enough on a global scale to mitigate the effects of climate change,” said Alex Hauser, Grand Erie Student Trustee and Eco Club member at McKinnon Park Secondary School, where she is in Grade 12. “Partnerships like this one, however, start at the local level and do much to build the necessary momentum to bring about larger changes.”
Grand Erie’s Multi-Year Plan includes Environment as one of its key pillars with a commitment to improve energy and environmental conservation at all sites. The board currently has 20 schools with onsite renewable energy in the form of solar panels, which is fed back into the hydro grid. According to Domenic Maniccia, Manager of Facility Services at Grand Erie, that measure generated 2.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity last year alone. The Climate Change Partnership will continue to drive these efforts from a facilities-management perspective at the school level.