UR News

Local Grade 7 Class Participate in Unique Science Experience

Tracy Roxborough

By Tracy Roxborough

Orillia, ON, December 12, 2014 - Grade 7 students at Notre Dame Catholic School in Orillia recently participated in a memorable and unique science experience involving something most of us take for granted – trees! Motivated by community interest in lost trees at a local park (Couchiching Beach) recently, students were keen to learn more about the environmental, social and economic value of trees in urban spaces. Sustainable Severn Sound was happy to partner with the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board (SMCDSB) to provide students with a practical, interactive, hands-on, outdoor educational experience.
Rob Lajoie, the class teacher, was excited about the student’s participation in such an important aspect of urban life. “The activities led by Sustainable Severn Sound have really sparked the student’s enthusiasm in a way that classroom activities often don’t. The students want to learn more about sustainability and the environment.”
Staff from Sustainable Severn Sound prepared Mr. Lajoie’s Grade 7 students to undertake a tree inventory in Clayt French Park. The students were impressed by the data they discovered about the trees surveyed in the park:
- valued at $2,236 annually
- intercept 27,685 gallons of stormwater
- reduce energy use by 1,500 kWh
- absorb 6,775 pound of carbon dioxide.

Tracy Roxborough is the Sustainability Coordinator at Sustainable Severn Sound. She said, “Seeing young people engaged in real activities that help them develop strong links to the environment is fantastic. They can produce meaningful environmental changes in their lifetime.”
The students were asked what sustainability means to them. Owen said, “It’s important to make sure that we still have the natural resources that we have today, tomorrow. We need to conserve, protect and respect all of the natural resources that we have.”
This outdoor education partnership will continue into the spring, with more initiatives planned for these eco-friendly students at Notre Dame Catholic School in Orillia.
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For information about SMCDSB and this program, please contact Jeff Cole, Academic Services at 705.722.3555 x.391.
For additional media inquiries and information about the SMCDSB, please contact Pauline Stevenson, Communications and Public Affairs at 705.722.3555 x.229.

For more information about Sustainable Severn Sound or the Severn Sound Sustainability Plan, please contact Tracy Roxborough, Sustainability Coordinator, at 705.526.1371 x.112.
Sustainable Severn Sound is a partnership between the 9 municipalities in the Severn Sound watershed, with the committee comprised of municipal staff members and representatives from the Severn Sound Environmental Association (SSEA), the North Simcoe Community Futures Development Corporation (NSCFDC), the Orillia Area Community Development Corporation (OACDC), the Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU), Lakehead University (Orillia Campus), and the County of Simcoe. Our purpose is to develop, promote and support educational and operational programming designed to impact the sustainability pillars as identified within the Severn Sound Sustainability Plan. We create opportunities for all sectors to work together on initiatives which aim to improve watershed sustainability.

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