In March 2012, EcoSpark has partnered with the Small Change Fund to distribute 5 grants of $1,000 to 5 community groups in the Greater Toronto Area. EcoSpark awarded the grants to groups who we feel would use the money in ways that complement EcoSpark's principles. We have picked 5 groups that will use the money for projects supporting environmental education, stewardship and protection. All projects will be completed by the summer of 2012. We will keep you updated on this page.
The groups and projects that we are supporting are:
Recipient: The Student School, Toronto
Watershed: Humber River
Project: Bringing Students Up-Close with Nature
The Student School will use their grant to help tackle the issue of Nature Deficit Disorder in their school.
First, they will help students get up close to the animals in their various nesting sites around the school. Over the last few years they have developed a student nature area with different types of nesting sites (solitary bee nests, honey bee nests, bat boxes, nest boxes, beetle mounds, etc.). Students have been involved in collecting data about species based on their observations, but it is often difficult to see needed details. The Small Change Fund grant will help The Student School students purchase binoculars and monoculars so they can get up close and personal with insects and birds that live in urban environments.
Second, they will start a project to get students up close and personal with a closed ecosystem by installing an aquaponics system in their school.
Recipient: J.S. Woodsworth Senior Public School, Toronto
Watershed: Highland Creek
Project: Butterfly Garden Project
J.S. Woodsworth Senior Public School will
enable their students to learn about photosynthesis, food webs and species
identification through hands-on education. They will plant gardens on their
upper court yard using raised planting beds. Things planted will include
edibles such as: beets, beans, peas, tomatoes, onions, zucchini, chives, basil
and parsley. They will also plant flowers to attract butterflies and
hummingbirds. Windows surround the courtyard so the gardens
can be observed by multiple classes – providing an excellent educational
opportunity. The vegetables that are grown will also be used in the school
snack program and some of the vegetable seeds may be kept for next
Recipient: Seed to Table and Heron Park Recreation Centre, Toronto
Watershed: Highland Creek
Project: Youth Leadership Project
Funds will help to support Scarborough youth to share knowledge around green living and develop leadership skills through public and peer education. Seed to Table provides a space where young people (14-17) in the Kingston-Galloway/Orton Park Neighbourhood can access consistent support and mentorship around food security, nutrition, media use and social justice issues. Heron Park Recreation Centre has dynamic daily after school programming, and youth leaders there have identified a need for more environmental and food based initiatives. Youth from both of these programs will come together to promote greening and environmentalism at public events, lead workshops about health cooking and food issues to their peers, learn about chemicals in cosmetics and how to make their own herbal salve.
Recipient: Richmond Hill Naturalists, Richmond Hill
Watershed: Don River or Rouge River
Project: Local Creek Clean-Ups
This fund will help the Richmond Hill Naturalists (RHN) clean-up local creeks this spring with local high school students, families and RHN members. The RHN is a non-profit organization that aims to stimulate public interest in natural history and to encourage the preservation of our natural areas. In 2011, RHN’s Joe Agg took it upon himself to clean up the garbage in German Mills Creek, his childhood creek. Word about his efforts quickly spread and the support came rolling in. With help from the RHN, Home Depot, the Town of Richmond Hill and a small army of local youth, Joe and his team devoted every Sunday last spring to clean up the creek. Building on his success of the German Mills Creek Cleanup, Joe Agg of the Richmond Hill Naturalists will expand the clean-up to other creeks in Richmond Hill (e.g. West Don and Rouge River), with support from EcoSpark and the Small Change Fund.
Recipient: North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce, Melancthon and Mulmur Townships
Watershed: Nottawasaga River and the Grand River
Project: Stop the Mega Quarry Campaign
With support from EcoSpark and the Small Change Fund, the North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce (NDACT) will continue their grassroots efforts in an awareness-raising campaign in Orangeville this spring to stop a mega quarry in Melancthon Township. The NDACT's mission is to preserve and protect the unique and non-renewable resources of North Dufferin County. They were formed in January 2009 by concerned citizens from Melancthon and Mulmur Townships in response to the proposed limestone Mega Quarry on 2,316 acres of prime agricultural farmland. The Highland Company, who filed the application for the quarry last March, starting purchasing land in the area in 2006 and now owns and manages 8,500 acres. As an entirely volunteer-based organization, the NDACT relies on support from the local and broader environmental community to continue their fight to protect the environment, social economic and cultural characteristics of their community..