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Community Environmental Programs

The City of Saskatoon and the community are making progress in many environmental areas. As our community grows, this path of environmental protection will continue to ensure that Saskatoon is a place where we are proud to live, work, learn and play.

Student Action for a Sustainable Future

COVID-19 Response: Student Action for a Sustainable Future

Update: April 28, 2020

Due to COVID-19, the 2020 Student Action Showcase was cancelled.  However, this year’s 12 participating classrooms were able to complete a significant portion of their student projects, and highlights will be shared when available.

Student Action for a Sustainable Future is an award-winning program that engages grade 5-8 students from the Public and Catholic school systems in action projects that reduce classroom, school, and household greenhouse gas emissions. Each project results in positive sustainability benefits in the areas of waste, water, energy, food, biodiversity and transportation.

Teacher applications are now closed for the 2019-20 school year. 

To learn more, view our Student Action for a Sustainable Future video or read through our featured environmental success stories below.

2018-19 Highlights
  • Grade 6/7 students from École Alvin Buckwold School investigated the effects of light pollution on biodiversity and realized that how they used lights in their daily lives could be connected to ecosystem health. This led to action projects to reduce unneeded light use at school, and at home. They also promoted turning out porch lights in 4 Saskatoon neighbourhoods where they live. Their energy saving projects create the potential for reducing 8000 kgCO2e/y, and reducing electricity use by 12,000kWh/y.
  • École Henry Kelsey and Bishop Pocock School students each led an initiative to reduce vehicle idling at their schools. They also took their concerns around the effects of idling on health and the environment directly to the people in charge of making decisions. Students from Henry Kelsey presented to the Saskatoon Public School Board, and students from Bishop Pocock met with their school superintendent. As a result, both divisions are now looking at how vehicle idling, including idling of school buses, could be reduced on and around school properties.
  • The waste audit conducted by grade 4/5’s at Vincent Massey Community School resulted in two meaningful projects to keep recyclable (mostly yogurt containers), and useful objects (like pens and pencils) out of the garbage. This included a complete reworking of how and when yogurt snacks were provided to students. The introduction of classroom bins for spoons and empty containers not only reduced waste but led to the trickle-down effect of a cleaner playground, and a proud school community.  “We have yogurt everyday now. All the empty containers and spoons get thrown into the class bins. Containers are rinsed and recycled, and spoons and bins go in the dishwasher. We’ve had so many compliments from parents, staff and community members about how our park is a lot cleaner, and students are responding by keeping it clean. Amazing what a small change can do.”   Courtney Brown, Teacher.
  • Grade 7 and 8 students from Colette Bourgonje School began an active transportation program to encourage students to walk or bike to school. A survey before the locomotion challenge week showed that only 18% of students walked or biked to school. During the challenge week they had 44% participation! They reflected that there are many barriers to active transportation, including parental worries, weather and distance from home to school, but they were encouraged by the results and plan to reactivate the program in the new school year.

2017-18 Highlights

-Brownell School grade 6/7 students measured energy use in different classes around the school. They picked the classes that used the most energy and designed action projects to educate people on why it is important to shut off the lights. They purchased lamps and LED lights to reduce the fluorescent light use in the library and in classrooms. The biggest success they had was in the library where their work means that the 32 fluorescent lights that were rarely ever shut off are now rarely turned on, replaced with LED lamps used in strategic locations. This change provides a savings of 16,000kWh/year, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 1100 kgCO2e/year.

-Father Vachon School grade 6/7 students gathered data on how computers were used in their school.   They discovered that the computers were being left on overnight and while the monitors appeared to sleep, information from energy meters showed the towers’ energy use appeared to stay constant. They calculated that they could save energy 18 hours a day as they only needed the computers for 6 hours a day. Students calculated the electricity costs for one monitor (approximately $2.78/month) and one tower ($5.73/month) when they are left running all the time. By turning off the computers in the computer lab (32 computers) at the end of each day, the group established that they could save the school board approximately $2,268 in a school year. As well, this change provides a savings of 16,500 kWh/year, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 9900 kgCO2e/year.

-Students from grade 7/8 at W.P. Bate Community School audited their lunch waste and found they were throwing away compostable food waste, and using Styrofoam to serve meals. They set up an outdoor composting system at the school and bought reusable bowls, pitching in to help the lunch staff with clean up.

-Grade 7/8 students from Saskatoon Misbah School have a unique situation in their school. They use water 5 times daily in their Wudu cleansing for prayer. Students audited this water use and then adjusted the flow of water to reduce waste. This change reduced water use by 500L/day.

2016-17 Highlights
  • King George School’s grade 6/7 class completed a school-wide garbage audit. After discovering that a large amount of the garbage’s contents was actually edible food, the students led a campaign to help curb the problem. The class encouraged fellow students to take only what they would consume, and started using reusable containers to take leftover food from the lunch program home. Their post-campaign audit showed a successful reduction of lunchtime food waste from 13.7kg/day to 2.2kg/day.
  • Three students from St. Dominic School read their water meters for four consecutive weeks. During the first week, the students and their families continued to use water as usual. For the subsequent weeks, they reduced their home water consumption by, for example, reducing shower time and running the dishwasher only when full. Each of the families had significant water savings that ranged from 12% to 18%. If the families keep up these new behaviours, they will reduce water consumption by a total of 120 m3/year. 
  • Brownell School’s grade 7/8 class took action to reduce their ecological footprints. Each student conducted an energy, water, or waste conservation project at home and/or at school. Four families reduced their household electricity use by 1.6kWh/day for a combined savings of 8,030 kWh of electricity/year.
  • St. Maria Goretti’s grade 6/7 class focused on waste reduction. Students motivated the school to convert from Styrofoam cups to reusable plastic cups for the lunch program, and helped reduce waste by washing the plastic dishes for reuse. In just two months, they saved 2,100 Styrofoam cups and achieved an overall savings of 2,004 kg CO2e.
  • St. Volodymyr School’s grade 7/8 class was awarded a Rob Dumont Energy Management Award in 2017 for their sustainability efforts. Students worked on several different projects that focused on energy conservation, classroom waste, and food issues. Students started vermicomposting, and saved food scraps to feed one of the student’s chickens. They audited energy use in their homes, and worked with their families to reduce wasted energy. One group planted a micro garden in the classroom and went on CTV’s News at Noon program to help motivate others to consume less beef. Another group purchased a solar panel to offset some of the energy needed to charge the classroom’s iPads. The students’ collective actions will save 4,263 kg CO2e/year. 

2015-16 Highlights
  • Bishop Klein’s grade 6/7 students conducted a school garbage audit and developed an action plan on how the school could reduce its amount of daily waste. 30 lbs/day of compostable material (81%) is now going into the compost instead of the garbage. This initiative saves 2,400 kg CO2e/year.
  • St. Ann’s grade 8 and grade 6/7 classrooms conducted water and energy audits at home. Their collective actions will save 109 m3/year of water, 8,717 kWh/year of electricity, and 5,710 kg CO2e/year.
  • St. Peter’s grade 7/8 class measured the power consumption of their school’s computers in various states (home screen, off, sleep, and running various programs). They then encouraged others to turn computers into sleep mode when they finished using them. The results of their initiative will save 2,600 kWh/year and 1,700 kg CO2e/year.
  • Students from Hugh Cairns’ grade 8 class pursued a number of different food projects, including: eating less meat, decreasing food miles by eating local food, growing their own micro-greens, purchasing the Good Food Box, and growing produce using a Tower Garden. Collectively, their food projects will save 618 L of fuel/year and 5,064 kg CO2e/year.
  • Grade 6 students from Caswell School worked on topics such as air pollution, biodiversity, animals at risk, and the benefits of creating bat boxes. The classroom then took on an initiative to reduce light pollution, which will save 444 kWh of electricity/year and 291 kg CO2e/year.
  • Lakeridge’s grade 7 students worked to reduce vehicle idling in front of their school. They created and handed out pamphlets, talked to drivers, and put up an Idle Free Zone sign to encourage less vehicle idling. The follow up survey showed that idling had reduced from 128 minutes/day to 2 minutes/day (collectively), which was a 98% reduction. This initiative will save 1,700 kg CO2e/year.

2014-15 Highlights
  • Westmount School’s grade 5/6 class reduced lighting use by 2/3 in their classrooms and library by using natural lighting and by making sure lights were kept off when not needed. Maintaining these new lighting habits will save 6900 kWh of electricity and 4500 kg of CO2e/year.
  •  A group of grade 7 students at Brunskill School saved between 51-65% of the water they normally use while bathing. For example, one student saved 78 L per bath (28,000 L/year) and another reduced their shower time and now saves 38 L per shower (14,000 L/year).

2013-14 Highlights
  • Between December 2013 and March 2014, Bishop Pocock’s grade 6/7 class led to a 59% reduction in garbage in their school. That's 1,860 kg of waste over a whole school year.
  • Thanks to the great work of St. Marguerite’s grade 8 class, their school started an Environmental Committee to work on school-wide sustainability initiatives.
  • A group of grade 8 students from Brownell School took on home water conservation projects. Their families made changes, such as installing displacement devices in toilet tanks, shortening shower time, installing faucet aerators and reducing outdoor watering. Collectively, these actions have an annual savings of 256,000 L of water.
  • Through education, an action campaign, and a lights off and “half-off” contest led by Fairhaven School’s grade 4/5 class, their school saw a 43% reduction in lighting energy between January and March 2014.

Thank you to our partners for making this program possible: Saskatoon Public Schools, Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools, Saskatchewan Environmental Society, Sustainability Education Research Institute (University of Saskatchewan), Saskatoon Light & Power, and our many other community partners.

For more information, please email us.

Participating teachers (past and current) may also access information, resources, and program details on our teacher portal


Green Stem Pledge for Businesses

Tourism Saskatoon’s pledge-based Green Stem program offers support and recognition to businesses that are committed to being environmental stewards and making decisions that contribute to a sustainable Saskatoon.

To find out more, visit Tourism Saskatoon's Green Stem website.