Environmental Programs


There are a number of environmental programs practiced in support of Eco-schools. Each school is responsible for the decisions and delivery of environmental programs and therefore these programs may not be available in every school. To learn more about the programs in a particular school visit the school’s website or contact the school’s principal.

Outdoor Education

Every day is Earth Day at YRDSB's outdoor education centres. Students and teachers alike find great enjoyment in a number of activities. A few examples include Grade 2 students enjoy making birdfeeders from pine cones, birdseeds and lard. Grade 4 students found joy in finding beach glass and examining insects. Grade 7 students enjoy going on a nature hike and seeing a fox den. Students learn about animal interactions within the environment, about recycling and how to use reuse products in more eco-friendly ways.

EcoCamp: Environmental Leadership Camp

EcoCamp is a life changing experience unique to students in York Region. Established in 2000 and run entirely by a passionate group of teachers, this three day residential camp was created to meet the growing need for educators to build environmental responsibility in our students.

Through a variety of innovative and engaging leadership activities, rich outdoor experiences and direct instruction in healthy ecosystem management, six students from each of sixteen schools selected to participate in our annual fall EcoCamp held at Camp Cedar Glen.

Participating school teams are guided into becoming an organized leadership team ready to return to their schools as their EcoTeam leaders and work toward the goal of EcoSchools certification. Students and teachers gain an appreciation for the issues that face us in an increasingly alarming global situation and develop environmental stewardship skills meant to last a lifetime.

In complement with the EcoSchools initiative in York Region schools, EcoCamp has proven to give school teams the tools they need to turn enthusiasm in to action.

School Grounds Greening and Enhancement

The York Region District School Board (the ‘Board’) has entered into a partnership with The Regional Municipality of York and Evergreen. Under York Region’s Greening Strategy school ground greening was identified as an opportunity to increase canopy cover and demonstrate the benefits of trees, including trees blocking UV rays and protecting us from skin cancer, cleaning our air, keeping school grounds cool in summer, providing much needed food and habitat for local pollinators, and much more.

Evergreen’s Learning Grounds program is a unique program providing the Board with a resource person (the ‘Design Consultant’) to participate in reviewing and providing input for school ground greening initiatives. Projects focus on the naturalization of school grounds through the planting of trees.


Highlights of the collaboration so far include the development of:

  • a process guide to help schools navigate the application and approval process
  • guidelines to help schools implement and maintain successful and sustainable projects;
  • a Board-approved list of recommended tree species to help increase the chance of tree survival as well as mitigate potential health and safety risks on school grounds;
  • tree planting specifications to help increase survivability rate of trees in consultation with the Board’s Maintenance Services (Landscaping) staff, Evergreen Design Consultant, York Region’s Green Infrastructure Design Technologist, and Plant Services management;
  • ready-to-go design details for outdoor classrooms, benches, picnic tables, armour stone seating, etc. that are safe, accessible, and inclusive;
  • trees planted at select schools across the region based on an analysis of where to maximize on a tree’s future shade benefits, with consideration also given to safety, access, maintenance, and tree survival;
  • tree care, maintenance, and education package; and
  • two workshops to introduce planting details and guidelines were delivered at the EcoSchools annual kick-off event at Richmond Green S.S. on October 12, 2017.

As the partnership grows and develops, more opportunities to directly impact school grounds greening goals will be developed and communicated. YRDSB Staff interested in learning more about school greening projects can contact schoolgroundsadvisor@yrdsb.ca.


For parents and communities interested in creating a greener landscape at home, there are many planting programs available to residents through York Region’s partnerships with Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority and the Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests Organization (LEAF). Visit the York Region website to learn more.


Planting, protecting and caring for trees and forests is a shared responsibility. By working together, we can make sure our trees and forests contribute to health and sustainable communities.