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May 1, 2013 - Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee
Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee
May 1, 2013

        A meeting of the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee was held in the Barry C. O’Connor Board Room at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, on Wednesday, May 1, 2013, at 6:00 p.m.             
Present Trustees:
P. Murray, Chair
D. Jackson
Tom Carpenter, SWITCH
Becky Corby, School Council Liaison Committee
Stana Luxford Oddie, Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority
Zabe MacEachren, Faculty of Education, Queen’s University
Kathy Moulton, Hydro One
Ruth Noordegraaf, Kingston Coalition for Active Transportation, KFL&A Public Health
Meg Skinner, KFL&A Public Health
Debbie Villeneuve, School Council Liaison Committee
D. Fowler, Manager of Facility Services
D. Hendry, Sustainable Initiatives Coordinator
J. Hendry, Energy/Environmental Technician
S. Lehman, Supervising Principal
M. Sewell, Program Leader, Skills Training & Technology
D. Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Mike Blackburn, Principal, Fairfield Elementary School
Lynn MacKinder, KFL&A Public Health
David Hahn, National Farmers Union, Local 316   Linda Malcolm, KFL&A Public Health
Tracey McKenzie, County of Lennox & Addington

        The meeting was chaired by Trustee Murray, who welcomed those present to the meeting.  

Approval of Agenda

MOVED BY Meg Skinner, seconded by Tom Carpenter, that the agenda, as distributed, be approved.Carried

Approval of the Minutes

MOVED BY Debbie Villeneuve, seconded by Becky Corby, that the minutes of the February 6, 2013 ESAC, as distributed, be approved.Carried

Business Arising From the Minutes

There was no business arising from the minutes.

Fairfield Elementary School’s Active Transportation Walking School Bus

        Lynn MacKinder, KFL&A Public Health, was present to provide an overview of the School Walking Bus Program at Fairfield Elementary School.  She presented the following information:

Why walking and cycling to school?

  • Twenty-five years ago 80% of children in grades three and up walked or rode to school.
  •         Today 36% walk to school even though 68% of Canadian children live within a 30-minute walk from their school.
Barriers to walking and cycling to school

  • Community design
  •         Safety
  •         Time and convenience
Walking School Bus

  • A walking school bus is a group of students who walk to school together along a designated route with student leaders, parents, or community volunteers.
Benefits of a walking school bus

•     Increased physical activity
•     Improved pedestrian skills
•     Helps to create a vibrant community
•     Less reliance on automobile
•     Decreased neighbourhood/school traffic
•     Reduced fear of crime
•     More social interaction
•     Increased independence

Brief History

•     KFL&A Public Health first established school community initiatives in 2006.
•     In 2009 a walking school bus was piloted at an elementary school.
•     In 2010, KFL&A promoted walking school buses at two other elementary schools.

We need champions

•     There was an uptake in students joining the routes with leaders only if there was a champion to lead the promotion of active travel to school.

Walking on…

•     In 2012 the program was expanded to three new elementary schools.
•     The focus is on creating sustainability for active transportation to school.
•     A partnership was developed with Kingston Gets Active to recruit volunteers to lead students.

Fairfield Walking Wednesday – Where We Started

•     Meetings with school administration and parent council
•     Observing morning arrival

Fairfield Walking Wednesday

•     Every Wednesday morning at 8:00 a.m. Fairfield Elementary School students can meet in the Foodland Amherstview parking lot.
•     Walking School Bus (WSB) leaders will accompany students on a 1.2 km walk to school.
•     Students and parents can join anywhere along the route.
•     WSB runs except on inclement weather days.

Walking Wednesday Update

•     Walking Wednesday started on March 6.
•     On March 27 students who joined the walk enjoyed a celebration snack when they arrived at school.
•     On April 10 students received a Golden Shoe award to recognize their participation.
•     Partnering with Kingston Gets Active to recruit volunteer walking leaders.
•     Hosted a stakeholders meeting and Community Forum on Active Transportation
•     Walking Wednesday has been supported by school administration, parent council, and Loyalist O.P.P.

Parent Engagement

•     Parents are essential to the success of Fairfield E.S. Walking Wednesdays.
•     Parents are encouraged to share thoughts and ideas that can improve the program.
•     Volunteer to be a Walking School Bus Leader
•     If they live within walking distance of the school, allow their children to walk instead of driving them.
•     Encourage others to join the walk.
        Ms. MacKinder reviewed the route, noting that the students arrive at the school at approximately 8:30 a.m.

        Ms. MacKinder stated that there are also Walking School Bus programs at Cataraqui Woods Elementary School and École Sir John A. Macdonald Public School.

        In response to a question from Ms. Corby, Ms. MacKinder stated that KFL&A first went to the parent council so that the parent council could help them develop a Walking Wednesday program.  She said that they hope to expand the program to other schools.

        In response to a question from Mr. Lehman, Ms. MacKinder stated that there are approximately 6-10 students involved in the Walking Wednesday program at Fairfield Elementary School.

        In response to a question from Ms. Noordegraaf, she stated that KFL&A is trying to get Grade 7 and 8 students to be the leaders, and that there are volunteers who are trained.

        Ms. Skinner stated that the good thing about the program is that it encourages students to walk.

        Mr. Blackburn thanked and recognized the KFL&A for all the work that they did to get the Walking School Bus program started.  He said that in our talks about sustainability at the school level, it comes back to shifting culture.  He indicated that some of our schools are recognized as a healthy school through the H.E.A.L. Award, noting that this program is a natural next step for schools.  He indicated that Fairfield E.S. has the Golden Shoe Award and is now tracking how many students walk to school.  He said that the class having the most students walk to school receives the award, noting that the award is presented each week to a class.

        Ms. Noordegraaf asked about how bus companies feel about this program.  Mr. Blackburn stated that there was rich discussion about these types of questions at the community forums and stakeholder meetings.  Ms. Skinner indicated that a representative from Tri-Board Student Transportation Services was unable to attend the stakeholder meeting, but has indicated that someone would attend the next meeting.  She said that the Chief Executive Officer at Tri-Board Student Transportation Services had agreed that, in terms of transportation, traffic congestion at schools is dangerous.

        In response to a question from Trustee Jackson, Mr. Blackburn stated that the school has a great partnership with the Loyalist O.P.P., and that they have been very supportive of the program.

        Ms. Villeneuve stated that another way to encourage students to participate in the program, would be to invite a field naturalist to be part of the group, noting that there would be many educational opportunities in this area.

        Trustee Jackson commented that one of the purposes of the ESAC is to work with the Limestone DSB, and he suggested that the matter of active transportation criteria including design guidelines such as walkability, cycling and pedestrian access and safety in the development and planning of new and existing schools operated by the Board be referred to a future LDSB Property/Operations Committee meeting for consideration.

        MOVED BY Trustee Jackson, seconded by Tom Carpenter, the ESAC Committee recommends to the Board, that the Limestone District School Board consider active transportation criteria including design guidelines such as walkability, cycling and pedestrian access and safety in the development and planning of new and existing schools operated by the Board;

- and further –

That this motion be referred to the Property and Operations Committee for consideration and action.

        Trustee Murray thanked Ms. MacKinder and Mr. Blackburn for providing the above-noted information.  Ms. MacKinder and Mr. Blackburn withdrew from the meeting.

Cataraqui Region Conversation Authority

        Stana Luxford Oddie, Education Officer, Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority, provided information about the education programs available at the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area.  She had Committee members participate in a logo vs. nature awareness and identification activity.

        Ms. Luxford Oddie advised that the Outdoor and Environmental Education programs are curriculum based, and that they are for every grade, in every season. She advised that some of the spring programs include: Marsh Mysteries, Home Sweet Home, and Water Cycle Journey.

        Ms. Luxford Oddie stated that Nature Explorers Camp and P.A. Day programs include: shelter building “Fortress Forest”, and sit spots in the “Quiet coniferous Forest.”  She reported one child had said that his favourite part of camp was being outside in the rain.

        Ms. Luxford Oddie said that some fall programs include:  Insects Alive, Kinderscience, Wetland Conservation, and Map and Compass.  She advised that some winter programs include: Kingston’s largest natural rink, cross-country ski lessons, Nature in Winter, and Snowshoe Excursion.

        Ms. Luxford Oddie reported that Maple Madness! and Maple Math are held at the Maple Sugar Bush.

        Ms. Luxford Oddie commented on transforming schoolyards into outdoor classrooms.

        Ms. Luxford Oddie showed a clip from the “Inspiring Change” video.

        Ms. Luxford Oddie commented on the benefits of the programs at the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area, as follows:

•     Increased academic achievement;
•     Heightened enthusiasm;
•     Decreased discipline problems;
•     Compatible with concepts of learning styles and multiple intelligences;
•     Adds interest and variety to teaching;
•     It is a change of pace and place;
•     Provides opportunities for moments of awe; and
•     Enables a sense of wonder to unfold.

        Trustee Jackson stated that the Conservation Authority is doing fine work.  He said that the Ministry of Education provides a template to district school boards in terms of what boards can build in terms of schools.  He stated that perhaps the school that is to be built in Kingston North could be an eco-school and have some nature components in the yard.  He stated that we have been talking about using schools as community hubs, and he suggested that the Board could partner with others to do those types of things.  He suggested that the matter of Board green criteria in the planning, development and operation of new and existing schools be referred to the Property/Operations Committee for consideration at a future meeting.

        Mr. Sewell indicated that he believes that the curriculum side is also important in the planning process.

        Mr. Lehman stated that as we plan this, a curriculum component in program would be involved.  He said that there are many crossovers associated with ecoschools.  He indicated that it is important to change practices in school communities; we want to change communities, not just have schools be certified as an ecoschool.  He said that the perspective of partnerships is critical. He indicated that when we look at playground enhancement, we look at sustainability.  He commented that we need the school and community connection.

        Following discussion, a draft motion was brought forward that was moved by Trustee Jackson and seconded by Ruth Noordegraaf.  Trustee Jackson was to draft a final motion and it was to be circulated to ESAC members to see if they were in agreement with it.  Committee members were to provide their feedback by no later than Tuesday, May 7th.

        MOVED BY Trustee Jackson, seconded by Ruth Noordegraaf, the ESAC Committee recommends to the Limestone District School Board, that the Board consider green criteria in the planning, development and operation of new and existing schools including such green schools initiatives or criteria as:

Naturalization of school yards
Solid Waste Reduction
Sustainability of buildings and operations
Green Curriculum development
Local Community Partnerships
Outdoor Classrooms

– and further –

        That this motion be referred to the Education and Human Resources and the Property and Operations Committees for consideration and action.
                                                                                                                                                                 --Carried As Amended

        Trustee Murray thanked Ms. Luxford Oddie for providing the above-noted information.

Limestone Sustainability Update – Strategic Plan Reference:  Item 3.3.1

        Mr. Dan Hendry provided a Limestone Sustainability update.  He indicated that LDSB Earth Hour was held on Friday, March 22 this year, noting that 35+ sites participated.  He said that we collectively saved about 1199 KWh, noting that this could:

•     Power 85,385 CFLs (13 watt) light bulbs for one hour;
•     Save 337 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions;
•     Power a laptop computer for 24,667 hours.

        Mr. Hendry indicated that each school received a personalized report the Monday following Earth Hour.

        Mr. Hendry also provided information about Earth Hour: Kingston Unplugged, noting that this event was held on Saturday, March 23, 2013.  

        Mr. Hendry provided information about the Grade 9 Bus Pass program.  He shared a snippit of a recent article in the EMC newspaper, “Bus orientation 101”, indicating that the orientation was held Saturday, April 5, 2013.

        Mr. Hendry reported that we received grant money for soil that was delivered to schools.  He commented on the Bayridge Secondary School Green Bin Trial, noting that the pilot program began on Monday, April 15, 2013.

        Mr. Hendry provided information on the Sustainable Kingston Community Forum, which was held on Saturday, April 20, 2013.  He advised that the “One Earth One Chance” student conference was held on Wednesday, April 24, 2013.  He indicated that the deadline to qualify for Ontario ecoschools certification was Tuesday, April 30, 2013, noting that we have seven schools receiving certification this year.

        Mr. Hendry showed a slide of some of the students participating in the Walking School Bus program.

        Mr. Hendry commented on the culinary arts garden at Bayridge Secondary School.  He said that he is working on the development of guidelines for school gardens, and a resource package.

        Mr. Hendry provided information about the Battery Recycling Pilot program, as follows:

•     The Limestone DSB is participating in a Battery Recylcling Pilot program
•     The Education Centre is participating in the program along with five schools – Prince Charles PS, Bayridge SS, Centennial PS, Harrowsmith PS, and Enterprise PS
•     Since we began recycling batteries, the Board has diverted 181 kilograms (400 lbs.) of batteries from the landfill.

        Mr. Hendry provided the following information with regard to what he will be doing over the next couple of months:

•     May 24th, Frontenac Sustainability Breakfast
•     Draft the second annual sustainability report
•     Continue to roll out the Battery Recycling Program
•     Draft a school garden guideline and resource package
•     Plan a communications/promotions strategy for the 2013-2014 school year.

Round Table Regarding Community Opportunities/Next Year’s ESAC

        Mr. Lehman distributed a sheet, asking Committee members to fill in the sections relating to opportunities in the community that align with the Board’s Sustainability Priority area during the fall, winter and spring months, as well as to respond to the following questions:

•     As ESAC concludes its second year, please reflect on the last two years.
•     What are the strengths of ESAC?
•     What are the opportunities for this group?
•     What other opportunities could we explore?
•     What have you shared and how do you share with your organization/network

Committee members worked on the providing feedback.  The feedback was handed in to Mr. Lehman.

Other Business

        Ms. Noordegraaf distributed information on the Commuter Challenge, which is being held June 2-8, 2013.  She advised that further information could be found at or people could contact Jennifer at KFL&A Public Health, 613-549-1232, extension 1620, or at

        Mr. Lehman, on behalf of the Board, thanked Committee members representing organizations this year and last year for their commitment, knowledge, experience and input that they bring to ESAC.  He indicated that the Board will be sending a letter to the organizations that ESAC members represent thanking the representatives for representing their organizations.  He said that he hopes that representatives will continue to serve on the ESAC, and to let Darlene Kirkpatrick know if they plan to do so, or if they did not plan on continuing, would they be able to access another person from their organization to be part of the ESAC.

Next Meeting Date

The next meeting of the Environmental Sustainability Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, November 6, 2013, at the Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, at 6:00 p.m.

Trustee Jackson suggested that Committee members discuss the frequency of meetings at the November meeting.

Trustee Murray advised that a Trustee Co-Chair would be elected at the Limestone District School Board Committee of the Whole Board (Caucus) meeting at the end of November, and that a Co-Chair representing the organizations at the table should be elected at the November ESAC meeting.


MOVED BY Becky Corby, seconded by Debbie Villeneuve, that the meeting adjourn at    8:00 p.m.BCarried