EcoHouse

UpRoot Hamilton – Green Venture’s 20th Anniversary Celebration

Every now and again we need to be challenged and motivated to get out of our routines and try out new ideas and experiences, finding ourselves UpRooted! On October 3rd Green Venture hosted it’s first ever fundraiser, pulling up its own roots and trying new things to grow as an organization. What a success it was! Despite the strong winds, rain and unseasonably cool temperatures, people came out to help  celebrate 20 years of environmental outreach and education in the Hamilton community and donate  to help keep Green Venture going strong for the next 20 years! Continue reading

What one EcoTeam is doing to make their school more “Green”

IMG_0240Many schools are taking steps to become more sustainable in the classroom, so it wasn’t surprising when an educational assistant from Sacred Heart School came to Green Venture to ask about purchasing a vermicomposter. The part that surprised me was that she was contacting me on behalf of her Eco Team; it was her students who decided to get a composter.  They wanted to reduce the amount of waste they create, and they led the fundraising project so their school could achieve this goal.  Of course I had to meet with their Eco Team to see learn more about what they were up to.

The students were eager to tell me all about their hard work, achievements and future plans. The team is made up of 25 students between grades 2 and 8. Their latest project was raising funds for a vermicomposter. The idea to get a composter came from seeing all the waste from the breakfast program. The school started with recycling, but wanted to decrease their waste even further. Thus began their quest for a composter. The students came up with an action plan, which started in October. The first part of the plan was how to come up with the money for a composter. They decided to sell bracelets.  They made bracelets in their spare time at school and even on the weekends. Once they had enough bracelets they starting selling them, within 3 weeks they had raised enough money. Even they were surprised how fast they could raise the money at 25 cents to a dollar per bracelet.

Green Venture was delighted to hear the students gave so much of their time and efforts to raise money for the vermicomposter, and we gave them a discount to help with the costs. Green Venture also offers a Totally Transit Kids program where Green Venture partners with the HSR to educate students on the importance of sustainable transportation and gives them a free chartered bus ride to EcoHouse. The students came to pick up their worms in February and learned how to care for them by going on a tour of Green Venture.

They are also currently working on a battery drive, and have collected 2,183 batteries, with a target of 3,000 batteries. The best part of this drive is that once the target is reached they will celebrate by having a wear green day. They have also reclaimed areas from weeds and planted new plants. They have visions of more shade for their playground and a bigger teaching garden. They have created a garden space which is limited now but the Eco team has visions of creating container gardens.IMG_0246

The school has a recycling program, but what makes their program unique is that garbage gets monitored by the Eco Team upon collection. If the class makes it a week with proper recycling they get one letter of a word, and once all the letters in the word Recycle, are collected they get a pizza party. The Eco Team says this has helped with students making sure waste gets put in the right place.

Another great sustainable practice that the students promote is turning the lights off every day from 2 to 3. Each class is to turn off their lights during this time to help save energy and resources.IMG_0244

The EcoTeam charts how the students get to school, promoting sustainable transportation. Daily Eco tips and trivia are included in the morning announcements. The team has even put on an environmental themed play about how you can live more sustainably.

Future ideas for the team are bottled water versus tap water taste test, walk to school day, and raising money to get t- shirts for the Eco team.

As someone who has a passion for teaching and the environment, it so exciting to see schools promoting student led environmental initiatives in their schools.

For more information about Green Venture, vermicomposters and school tours, visit our website at www.greenventure.ca

Contact Virginia at education@greenventure.ca or 905 540 8787 x 154

Education Tours At Green Venture’s EcoHouse

 

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Hey Teachers!

We’re sure you’re counting down until the end of the school year, and trying to get through the last of your lessons. Did you know that Green Venture offers a myriad of school programs for all age groups at the EcoHouse? EcoHouse is southern Ontario’s only retrofitted environmental demonstration home and provides students with a unique opportunity to see environmentally friendly technology and behaviours. We’ve developed specialized tours, activities, and games for each grade on topics including wise water use, energy conservation, and waste reduction. And of course these hands-on tours are all based on the curriculum! We provide tours for elementary and secondary schools, and can customize them according to your time, group size, and any special interests or needs.

 

All the information about our educational programs can be found online on our website at http://ecohouse.greenventure.ca/education-programs.

 

Some of our most popular programs include:

 

Green Adventure: A Quest for Less!

This 2-hour program for Grade 1 students is very popular, as it focuses on energy use around the house. Students find it easy to relate what they learn at EcoHouse to their own homes. The chance to learn about how we make, use, and recycle paper always captures their attention. While most students already have a good grasp of the Recycling part of the three R’s, they are introduced to the Reuse and Reduce part when we run some newspapers through a blender and students get to make their own paper!

 

Soil: It’s More Than Just Dirt!

Grade 3 students can either get an introduction to soil, plants, and food topics with this program, or astound themselves with their own knowledge if it is used as a wrap-up to the topic. This vibrant program involves a lot of action, with games like Moving Black-Eyed Susan and The Great Food Sort-Out. No program about soil, food, and compost would be complete without a chance to peek into the worm bins and meet some of our no-legged friends.

 

WATT a Waste!

One of the first things students notice when standing outside of the EcoHouse are the solar panels on the front lawn. This large visual display of renewable energy can be applied to the Science and Technology curriculums of Grades 4, 5, and 6 students. While the tour of the house will be different for each grade based on the curriculum topics, each grade will do the Bean Energy activity. This activity illustrates to students in a very hands-on way both the limitations and potentials of renewable and non-renewable energy sources.

 

These are just a few of our educational program offerings. Please check out our website for information about programs for grades not listed here at http://ecohouse.greenventure.ca/education-programs.

We are also excited to be able to offer unique partnerships with other organizations. The Museum of Steam and Technology was built in 1859 as Hamilton’s first municipal waterworks, and is only about 10 minutes from EcoHouse. The museum now demonstrates simple machines, force, energy and design, the hydrological cycle, and animates life in a 19th century workplace. It fits in very well with EcoHouse programming, from the topics of energy to the original time periods of the sites! This joint program includes a chartered HSR bus to provide transportation between the two sites. While on the bus, students also have the chance to learn about sustainable transportation and bus ridership.

 

EcoHouse also partners with Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) for Totally Transit. This program aims to equip young bus riders with the tools they need to ride transit effectively and safely. In this program, students make the connections between our transportation choices, energy use, air quality, climate change and healthy communities.  Best of all the students put their knowledge to the test on a privately chartered city bus. Green Venture and the HSR chartered bus come right to the school doors to deliver Totally Transit on-site or the bus can be your transportation to and from an EcoHouse tour.  Ask for more information, limited spots are available.

 

Many of our programs are also available as outreach programs to your school. If you’re interested in what we offer, but can’t get your kids to us, we will come to you! Check out our website for more information, or call us at 905-540-8787 x154. We can’t wait to hear from you.