The St. Cyril Greening Committee was formed in 2012 by a group of concerned parents who had a primary focus on creating a natural environment that fosters learning and active play for the children. It is hoped that this initiative will teach our children that the environment is important, and that there are concrete steps individuals and communities can take to keep it thriving not just for present day, but also for the future.
Through this greening initiative, students are learning that green space is more than an aesthetic – it’s vital to promoting health, exercise and clean air in the city. They are being taught the importance of creating green spaces to reduce the heat island effect, to absorb rain water run-off, and to develop foliage barriers to absorb harmful emissions from idling vehicles. Adding trees and other natural elements such as logs, will allow teachers to assign students to gather leaves, observe insects and new plant growth as part of the science and social studies curriculum and complement the environmental curriculum.
The Greening Initiative also aims to raise community awareness of the health and safety problems caused by traffic and emissions, by creating a “green wall” between the parking lot and play areas and by also promoting the use of our newly established school bus routes to further reduce traffic near the schoolyard.
The St. Cyril Greening Committee has received praise by the TCDSB for their hard work and efforts and was even featured their newsletter in 2016. Although formed by a few parents, the committee has grown to include greater parent, children, teacher and staff involvement through the likes of watering, planting and participating in fundraising events!
Phase 1 (Completed September 2015): Saw the planting of trees on the inside of the yard along the perimeter fence line, planting a vegetable garden, and removal of asphalt in the schoolyard to create two play areas filled with mulch/sand along with log and rock seating.
Phase 2 (Completed in 2017): After successfully being awarded additional funding by means of a grant award by the Live Green Foundation, the following was completed:
- A LIVING “WILLOW” WALL: This wall along the east side of the yard, directly beside two new play areas that were created as part of a Phase 1. The willow walls, measuring approximately 12-15 meters, provide screening of the new play areas from the adjacent parking lot and help to absorb and deflect vehicular emissions created there. It also provides much needed shade and act as a focal point for educating the parent community about the negative effects of emissions and our role in reducing them.
- NEW TREES IN PERMEABLE PAVERS: Running west to east, this line of trees is in the centre of a very large asphalted area on the west side of the yard. The trees help shade the large, central asphalt area of the school yard, protect students from direct UV rays during active play and absorb rainfall, which currently runs off the paved yard and directly into the storm sewer system. Landscaping features under the trees enables the children to play and explore in a natural environment.
Phase 3 (to be completed in September 2019): The City of Toronto in collaboration with the TCDSB have both generously provided St. Cyril with funding to further enhance our school yard at the North West corner, part of which is City of Toronto property.
The project will see more trees planted, a steel shade structure, a small turf area and track lines painted on the asphalt. Below is the diagram NW Yard Redevelopment Plan
Construction is set to begin at the end of this school year, and set to be completed before the beginning of the 2019/2020 school year.
If you are interested in learning more or want to get involved on the Greening Committee, please contact us.