If it’s true that the world of tomorrow will rely on the children of today to keep Earth a healthy place to live, the kids of Linwood Public School are well on their way to helping make the future just a little bit greener. Linwood PS, headed up by teacher Ed Piva, has been recognized with the 2011 Tim Walker Memorial Award. Piva completed an application for the environmental award before March Break, and learned last week that they had won.
“I’m thrilled about that,” said Piva of the $500 bursary. “I had applied for that award five years ago and then I saw it come up again and thought ‘I’m going to give it a shot.’”
In the time since he first applied back in 2006, Piva has undertaken a dramatic transformation of the schoolyard at Linwood. While there were only a handful of trees on the property when the Grade 7 and 8 science, history, and geography teacher started at Linwood, he and the students have planted over 100 native trees and shrubs, set up a butterfly garden, made cedar-plank picnic tables, and even made and installed birdhouses on the site.
“It’s just an amazing place now,” he added.
The Tim Walker Memorial Award is actually a $2,000 bursary shared among four schools in the region – two high schools and two elementary schools – with each receiving a quarter of the proceeds to put towards furthering their environmental efforts within the school. This was the fifth year for the award, which is given out to honour the life of secondary school teacher Tim Walker and his contribution to education and the environment.
Piva intends to add the $500 to some $900 that the school raised by selling baked goods and holding a garage sale. The $1,400 will go towards the purchase of even more trees and shrubs to expand the nature area which is near the school’s playground.
The Waterloo Region District School Board trustees were the ones responsible for choosing this year’s winners.
“This project included school greening and shading, which is something we’re trying to encourage at as many schools as we can because it makes a good area for learning in a quiet spot, and it makes the property look much more attractive,” explained Harold Paisley, the trustee for Wellesley and Woolwich townships, as to why they chose Linwood as one of the recipients.
“When you do a project like this it becomes a nice hands-on project.To actually get the kids involved sometimes, very literally, getting their hands dirty, it becomes a good educational experience.”
Other winners of the award were Cedarbrae Public School in Waterloo, Trillium School in Kitchener, and Glenview Park Secondary School in Cambridge – which was the only high school to apply for the award this year.
Linwood, which achieved EcoSchool certification in 2009, and Piva, who was awarded the environmental teacher of the year in 2009 as well, are no strangers to these forms of accolades, but Piva said he takes great pride in instilling environmental ideals in his students.
“Tim Walker inspired people to get involved in environmental initiatives and it is an honour for Linwood to carry on his legacy,” he said.