First Garden and Outdoor Learning Space in Canada Opens
June 11, 2018 - TORONTO, CANADA
Toronto, ON, June 11, 2018: The Just Energy Foundation was excited to unveil recently its first Sustainable Garden and Outdoor Learning space in Canada. In partnership with PACT Urban Peace Program ’s Grow-to-Learn initiative, volunteers from Just Energy worked alongside PACT representatives to convert an existing green space at Elmbank Junior Middle Academy, in Toronto, into a fully accessible half acre garden complete with plant beds, fruit trees and bushes, and a dedicated teaching area. Rebecca MacDonald, Just Energy’s Executive Chair, joined PACT leads and school administration at the ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the official opening of the ‘living classroom’.
In the days leading up to the opening, students and staff also rolled up their sleeves as all got involved to plant a tree per grade, enabling the full student population to engage in the gardening experience. The transformed space offers 600 students from JK to grade 8 the opportunity to learn about the environment and the importance of sustainability in everything from pollination, to seeding and harvesting throughout the seasons. Designed to be a fully accessible space, children with diverse needs will be able to fully participate. The organic produce grown will also be shared to help feed the local community.
The opening of the sustainable garden also coincides with an important milestone for the school, as Elmbank celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018. The outdoor classroom will serve students now, and well into the future through unique, hands-on learning as teachers utilize the ‘living classrooms’ to build on existing curriculum. These opportunities immerse youngsters in an environment where they can learn firsthand about plant lifecycles, food and gardening, and their role as stewards of the earth.
Focusing on priority neighbourhoods, PACT’s Grow-to-Learn program transforms school grounds into high quality outdoor, experiential education where GTL staff facilitate a variety of curriculum-led workshops to students from grades 1-12. The spaces can be accessed by students, teachers, and community members alike.
"We have seen the amazing benefits that outdoor, experiential education provides, especially for younger children who may not get the opportunity to take part in extracurricular activities,” says Paige Lockett, Director of Operations at PACT. “We are delighted to be partnering with Just Energy to be able to provide the chance for our youth to both connect to nature and provide an expansive learning experience in the garden."
Terrapass, a member of Just Energy Group, works towards a cleaner planet by pursuing sustainable solutions to climate change. We support projects throughout North America that destroy greenhouse gases and produce renewable energy. The terrapass products and services provide consumers and businesses with the options and ability to help them reduce the environmental impact of their everyday activities through carbon offsets and renewable energy credits. Learn more at www.terrapass.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Terrapass is a registered trade name of Just Energy Advanced Solutions LLC.
“We are pleased to welcome our first Just Energy Sustainable Garden and Outdoor Learning space in Canada”, says Rebecca MacDonald, Just Energy’s Executive Chair. "As a company with strong Canadian roots, it’s important that we continue the Foundation’s mission to cultivate communities of action, cooperation and enrichment in more of our operating markets. We believe in strong corporate citizenship and our social responsibility to be an engaged and active community member. Supporting humanitarian initiatives is important and, as an organization, we take great pride in our ability to give back and pay it forward in service to others.”
Since launching the Just Energy Sustainable Gardens learning spaces initiative in December 2017, the Foundation has completed 12 gardens and outdoor learning spaces across several markets in the United States, with our most recent being in Canada. These include Houston and Weslaco (Texas), Boston, West Orange (New Jersey), Suwanee (Georgia), Sacramento, California and Toronto, Ontario.
About Just Energy Foundation
The Just Energy Foundation was established in 2013 by Just Energy Group Inc. to help registered Canadian and U.S. charitable organizations secure the resources required to promote the health and well-being of communities in need. Funded entirely by Just Energy, the Foundation invests in local programs that work to enhance the quality of life in Just Energy's operating markets towards building stronger and supportive communities. Visit justenergyfoundation.com to learn more.
About Just Energy
Established in 1997, Just Energy (NYSE:JE, TSX:JE) is a leading retail energy provider specializing in electricity and natural gas commodities, energy efficiency solutions, and renewable energy options. With offices located across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany, Just Energy serves approximately 1.5 million residential and commercial customers providing homes and businesses with a broad range of energy solutions that deliver comfort, convenience and control. Just Energy Group Inc. is the parent company of Amigo Energy, Green Star Energy, Hudson Energy, Tara Energy and terrapass. Visit justenergygroup.com to learn more. Also, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.