Black Creek Pioneer Village EcoSchools Stories
We are proud to be the first museum in Ontario to be an EcoSchool.
And we are pleased to be able to maintain that status in the last four years!
Ecoschools Highlights »
2009 - 2010 | 2008 - 2009 | 2007 - 2008
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EcoSchools Highlights 2009 - 2010
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Survey
In 2009, Black Creek embarked on an exciting project. This was to begin the process of conducting a detailed survey of our Visitors Centre with a view to efficiencies and possible LEED building status in the future. Working with the TREEISM group, an environmental management checklist was completed. Then a study was commenced under a variety of headings including energy and atmosphere, operational systems, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality and other areas. A lot is considered - from light bulbs to how pests are managed and supplies obtained. Over time, the goal is to strive for LEED building status and to make the Visitors Centre, a building close to thirty years old, as environmentally friendly as possible. A lot of work - a noble goal!
Waste Not - Want Not
This education program was launched in 2009. It combines the uses of trees, water, the land, crops and livestock with discussions and demonstrations about the early settlers. One of the goals is to assist students in understanding how the pioneers shaped their environment and the development of their communities. Students learn what effects early Canadians had on the land and compare the influence we have on our environment today. They have a lot of fun, take a practical look at life and leave with ideas on how to be a good environmental citizen in your own community.
Black Creek Historic Brewery
During the 2009 season, the Village opened its own historic brewery after a hectic few months. And what does a brewery have to do with the environment? Well, quite a lot! Brewing was a popular trade in the 1800s and remains so today. Apart from the research, programs and construction to complete, it was important for us to think about any environmental impacts as well. So, natural products go in and natural products come out. It all provides opportunities to demonstrate a number of natural processes. By-products are basically some warm water, the beer, and mash left over from the process. The mash is composted and goes in our gardens, the glass bottles are re-used and the beer is a very wholesome and natural product! In 2010 we also started to grow a garden of hops that can be used in the brewing process and complement the historic programs. Only natural fertilizer is used - and the hops are now reaching for the sky!
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EcoShools Highlights 2008 - 2009
Black Creek Pioneer Village made good progress in our waste reduction efforts in 2008-2009. We conducted a successful waste audit and continued to educate staff, students and other clients in waste reduction initiatives. This year, as professional development activities, staff also made two visits to Recycling Facilities at Turtle Island and U-Pak. They were real eye-openers as to how big a job this is and what is involved. We estimate that the amount of garbage we have to ship out of the Village is down by about a third from a couple of years ago. This is due to good work on the part of students, business clients and staff!
Waste Not, Want Not
This program has been going very well. It is designed for Grade 3 and up and combines background on how Canadians have dealt with our environment and natural resources in the past. This is compared with what is done today and useful lessons from our past-that are often forgotten-are used as examples to think about how we can be environmentally responsible today.
In the last year and a half, Black Creek Pioneer Village has worked on conservation in water use. Though in its early stages, we are happy with what has been achieved. Low flush toilets have been installed in a number of washrooms. This year, the washrooms in the Visitors Centre, that get a great deal of use, had new water-conserving taps installed. We have noticed a lot less wastage as a result and the cleaners say that the washrooms are much cleaner since the taps aren't left on and water sprayed about on counters and floors. Cleaner AND safer is the way to go!
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Ecoschools Highlights 2007 - 2008
Here are just a few of the new initiatives implemented in the 07-08 year.
Black Creek Pioneer Village has switched from using 30 % recycled office paper to 100% recycled. With the use of scrap paper in every office area, we have made a significant reduction in the amount of paper that is used. Using scrap paper for work also means that the paper really gets recycled twice!
Energy Conservation Initiatives
In 07-08 we completed work on our Energy Conservation Survey of Village Buildings. The reason was to look at all the buildings in the Village that use heating systems and any air conditioning systems to see where we could make changes to conserve more energy and become more efficient in its use. As Black Creek is a historic Village, care has to be taken not to damage the historic nature of our buildings. This involves some unique solutions to particular problems. The Energy Conservation Survey enables us to see all the work necessary and gives us a rough timetable and costs for the work required.
In the winter/spring of 2008, we converted the heating system in our Town Hall from electricity to gas. This meant a substantial amount of work in removing parts of the old system, relocating many artifacts, carpentry work, installing the new furnace and ducting, then a good clean-up and painting afterwards! All these changes require a good deal of work and the finances to carry it out. But in the long run, these improvements will contribute to making the Village more energy efficient and reducing our ecological footprint.
Light-sensor switches were installed for the upstairs and downstairs washrooms in the Black Creek Visitor Centre. These only come on as a result of any movement in the area. They work well and have not caused any inconvenience. We will be looking for other areas where they can be installed to further reduce our energy footprint.
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The Ontario EcoSchools program provides a manageable, accessible framework for leading and supporting environmental initiatives. Its four main areas of focus - Energy Conservation, Waste Minimization, Ecological Literacy and School Ground Greening - strive to create links between what is taught in the classroom and how schools are run on a day-to-day basis.
For more information about Ontario EcoSchools, to download resources, or review the program guides, please visit www.ontarioecoschools.org