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Environmental Service Committee

Annual Report 2016/17

 

The Environmental Service Committee of The Rotary Club of Toronto established a set of guidelines for environmental projects we would fund at the beginning of the fiscal year.

 

The focus was:

•    Water and the Great Lakes,

•    Urban Environmental Issues,

•    Increasing/Preserving biodiversity in Toronto; or

•    Promotion of nature in the city

 

The qualities of desirable projects included:

•    projects where our funds make a difference or investment would be strategic (i.e. gaps where traditional funders are not active)

•    projects that also benefit other worthy issues such as children, indigenous people, food security, people experiencing homelessness, seniors, etc.

•    innovative projects

 

The Environmental Service Committee, still a fairly new independent committee, and as such had a slightly smaller budget than other committees, yet the projects supported packed a mighty social and environmental impact:

•    PACT – Urban Peace Program grant supported the school garden at John Polanyi Collegiate Institute which is an organic, 1.5 acre urban farm and teaching environment where students from six surrounding primary and middle schools take part in outdoor, curriculum-based lessons.

•    The Bowery Project grant of $2,500 supported turning downtown vacant lands into fertile food gardens.

•    A $2,500 grant toward The Toronto Tool Library, allowed for The Rotary Club of Toronto and the Rotaract Club of Toronto to be the founding sponsors of the West end Toronto Tool Library. This grant combined with a few sweat equity days to get the library painted, sorted and set up made for a fun and high impact project.

•    A $2,500 Rotary Ecosystem grant was given to Urban Forest Associates (Ufora) for a project that the club has participated in for over 20 years along with 5 other local Rotary Clubs in the district. This grant supports the purchase of native trees that grade school students take a few hours out of the classroom to plant in the Don River Valley while learning about their environment.

•    A $2,500 grant to Earth Day Canada supported POP-UP Adventure Playgrounds with a strategic focus on bringing outdoor adventure play to diverse communities in Toronto. Essential to this model of play are the natural and recycled “loose parts” (spare tires, hay bales, rope, cardboard, fabric, tools and utensils, wood, etc.) – materials that facilitate creative thinking, collaboration and lots of action.                  

•    Finally, a grant of $3,000 to Foodshare supported 3 new colonies for a 6 colony bee yard at the Black Creek Community Farm at Jane and Finch and supported demonstration and workshop resources of The Toronto Bee Keeper Collective for children’s workshops in Regent Park, Eco-Day at Keele and Finch and a children’s event in Thorncliffe Park.

 

Several of the Environmental Service Committee members are also members of the worldwide Environmental Sustainability Rotarian Action Group, and some have formed the District 7070 tree planting sub-committee, which is exceeding the target of planting a tree for every member in the club and District. Please plan to dawn your rubber boots on April 22nd, Earth Day 2018, and get your hands dirty with the environment committee in celebration and protection of Rotary’s one and only planet, earth.

 

Alanna Scott, Chair