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
Connect your curriculum outcomes to important sustainability goals while providing project-based work, in class, online, or at home. For more information on the SASF program, please visit the Saskatchewan Environmental Society's webpage.
- The elementary school application portal has closed for the 2023-24 school year.
- The high school application portal has closed for the 2023-24 school year.
Student Action for a Sustainable Future is an award-winning program that engages 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.
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In the 2022-23 school year, 12 elementary and 11 high school classes participated in the Student Action for a Sustainable Future (SASF) program. This was the second year that high school classes participated in the program. Participating classes and schools calculated the annual savings of:
|SASF Topic Area
|Energy - Electricity
|Transportation - Fuel
|Total Annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions Savings
- Ernest Lindner's Grade 8 class designed solitary bee hotels and educated other students about bee diversity. They increased wildlife friendly habitat at the local community garden in Al Anderson Park by installing bee hotels and bird houses, and by planting beneficial native plants.
- When auditing a day’s worth of waste, grade 6/7 students at École Victoria determined the need to reduce the amount of writing utensils going into the garbage. They implemented a marker and pen recycling collection program at their school and their wider community diverting 10.7 kg of waste from the landfill through the TerraCycle program.
- St. Kateri Tekakwitha's Grade 8 class did litter audits in their neighbourhood park. Afterwards, they installed educational signage to raise awareness about proper garbage disposal. They then delivered a presentation to City Council to advocate and encourage an increase in the amount of garbage cans in their park to help reduce the litter and dog waste problem.
- Saskatoon Misbah's grade 5 students reduced single-use, disposable waste products at their Eid Cultural celebration by using reusable plates and cutlery. They also implemented an idle free campaign and installed signage that encouraged drivers to turn off idling vehicles at school pick-up.
- St. Augustine School's grade 7/8 students designed a model of their school and determined the solar potential of their school’s rooftop. Students also reduced the travel distance of their food by growing it locally while building gardening skills using their class hydroponics system where they grew strawberries, lettuce, and tomatoes.
- St. Angela School’s grade 7/8 students conducted a heating audit by taking thermostat readings in each classroom. During their audit process, they discovered overheating issues in their building. With teacher support, they organized a meeting with facilities management and presented their audit data findings. Student action and advocacy resulted in the school division taking action to fix multiple heating and cooling issues that will result in long-term and impactful savings for the school.
- Sutherland School’s Grade 5 students reduced plastic lunch waste at their school. They worked with a local non-profit charity Cloth 4 Kids to have re-usable lunch bags made using second-hand materials and gave bags out to classes at their school. By encouraging the use of reusable lunch bags they will see an annual savings of 1,104 Ziploc bags with their project.
- Compost collection programs were a large focus at several schools this year. Ernest Lindner, St. Angela and Nutana Collegiate implemented new collection programs while École Victoria increased the amount of food waste being collected in their current program. Collectively, these schools will divert approximately 6,515 kg of total food waste over the school year.
- Grade 5/6 students at Brownell School focused on active transportation and educated their school about the benefits for both the environment and human health through daily announcements, posters, and class presentations. Student efforts saw an increase in students biking, walking, and scootering to and from school.
- Buena Vista's grade 4/5 class started a recycling program for juice boxes, pop cans, and plastic bottles at their school. They used money from the deposit refunds to sponsor nature-based field trips and to invest in their outdoor space as a legacy project. Their recycling efforts diverted an average of 15 kg each week from the landfill. This resulted in a projected diversion rate of 600 kg/year of recyclables.
- École St. Paul's grade 7/8 students reduced waste by 162 kg by collecting and repairing secondhand items to run a ‘Christmas Market’ that reduced the purchase of new items for gift-giving during the holiday season.
- Grade 5 students at St. Mark School built a 4-tiered vermicompost bin to compost classroom lunch waste and constructed bird houses that were installed around their school to increase wildlife habitat.
- Aden’s Bowman's Environmental Science 20 class installed flow reducers in the faucets in their school’s art room to reduce the amount of water wasted. This change will result in projected savings of 3,500 m3/year.
- After using watt meters to do an energy audit of the school computer labs, The Environmental Science 20 class at Marion M. Graham Collegiate noticed many computers in school labs were not entering sleep mode. They made a presentation to Facilities and advocated for updated sleep scripts on the computers. This change will result in annual projected savings of 12,500 kWh/year.
- Students in Environmental Science 20 from Bedford Road and the Science 10 IB class at Bishop J. Mahoney did at home energy audits and then put into action energy saving changes by replacing inefficient lighting with efficient LED bulbs. Their collective changes will result in savings of 14,544 kWh/year.
- Lastly, students from Bedford Road, Aden Bowman and Bishop James Mahoney reduced their food related emissions through changes in their personal consumption of meat-based proteins by choosing plant-based or low emission protein alternatives. This resulted in projected savings of 43,210 kgCO2e/year.
We are inspired by the actions and environmental leadership that students have demonstrated this year! We can’t wait to see what next year brings!
In the 2021-22 school year, 12 elementary and 8 high school classes participated in the Student Action for a Sustainable Future (SASF) program. This was the first year that high school classes participated in the program. Participating classes and schools calculated the annual savings of:
- 95,280kWh of electricity
- 4,072 GJ of natural gas
- 227 m3 of water, 5520 kg of waste
- 2014 litres of fuel
- 6600 kgCO2e of food waste
- 69631 kgCO2e of greenhouse gas emissions
The grade 7/8 class at Bishop Pocock School will save 180,000 litres of water per year by tightening the water supply valve to limit water going to the urinals intake. They also reduced waste by providing reusable rags to encourage classes to use less paper towel. This reduced paper towel use by one full roll per day!
Occupancy sensors were installed by 4 schools: Bishop Pocock, École Cardinal Leger, Caswell Community School, and Nutana Collegiate. A total of 9 rooms will now have occupancy sensors that will turn lights off when there is no one present. École Cardinal Leger used red and green stickers on light switches to remind classes to use only green switches when natural light was not enough. This showed a savings of 7% in reduction of light usage. Nutana Collegiate completed a school wide audit and ran an education campaign. It was found that a difference of 10kW per day in electricity would be saved by making better use of natural light.
Compost collection was a huge project implemented at Bedford Road, Fairhaven, Caswell, and St. Augustine schools. Caswell and Bedford Road programs collected an average of 7-8kg of food waste per day at each school. This will amount to approximately 2800 kg over 180 days of school per year being diverted from the landfill.
Lakeridge’s grade 4/5 class created an idle-free project that impressively reduced idling by 329 minutes per day. This is equivalent to 23 kgCO2 per day. Over the 100 winter days this could reduce emissions by 2270 kgCO2! The students in the grade 4/5 class achieved this by creating posters, pamphlets, announcements, newsletter articles, a video advertisement, and even had conversations with drivers; all to discourage idling.
Bedford Road’s Visual Art 30 class created artwork that focused on their individual relationships with water in the context of climate change. These were displayed and accompanied by artist and curatorial statements to raise awareness on individual’s relationships with water.
Switching meals from meat-based to vegetarian is a high energy saver, and Bedford Road’s Science 10 class used this idea to introduce two days per week of vegetarian meals at The Roost cafeteria. This will reduce meat proteins by 900 meals in the year!
Walter Murray Math 9 French immersion class worked with the Depave Paradise project to remove a section of old impermeable asphalt and replaced it with a garden of native plants and vegetables. Students calculated carbon sequestered by nearby trees and learned how this project will serve both to mitigate and adapt to climate changes.
Finally, St Marguerite found a way to combat the waste being produced by disposable masks. The Grade 8 class arranged for used masks to be collected and sent away for proper recycling.
We are so impressed with the creativity, drive, and leadership these students have demonstrated as part of the 2021-22 SASF program, and we can’t wait to see what next year brings!
In the 2020-21 school year, 17 classrooms participated in the Student Action for a Sustainable Future program. Amid COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, much of the programming transitioned to online platforms, yet the program was successful due to the efforts and resilience of the participants. Altogether, when emissions reductions were projected over a full year, 35,180 kg CO2e would be saved by the students ongoing actions for sustainability.
Westmount School The grade 4/5 students recognized an opportunity for energy savings by placing timers on carts that charged the school laptops. After implementation, the students determined that 378 kWh (227 kgCO2e) was saved school-wide in one week.
St. Frances Cree Bilingual School The grade 8 students focused on reducing water use at home. They changed their behaviour to reduce water consumption including taking shorter showers, combining laundry loads and turning off taps while brushing their teeth. One family noticed water consumption drop by 14%.
St. Augustine School The grade 8 students looked at the energy and water needed to produce food. They approached this topic broadly learning about different methods of food production and looked closely at soil growth and regrowth, and hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponic systems. The students also took action to reduce water consumption at home, saving 8m3 in one week and an estimated 411m3 over one year.
wâhkôhtowin School The students and staff compiled a video, wherein, Traditional Knowledge Keeper Wally Awasis shared cultural teachings. Students also showed their work in poster displays and explained how they protect Mother Earth and reduce waste. The project outcomes were a blend of waste awareness and reduction, and traditional Cree teachings.
École Alvin Buckwold The grade 7/8 students investigated the effects of urban light pollution on biodiversity. The students created a Dark Skies brochure to educate and make recommendations for their community. A combination of turning off lights and finding less bright outdoor lighting saved 26 kWh of electricity in one day and a projected 9,500 kWh after one year.
St. Phillips School Grade 8 students promoted biking as a form of transportation to and from school. They surveyed 212 students at the school and determined a location for an additional bike rack. Students then contacted the School Community Council to request a donation of an additional bike rack. These efforts resulted in an estimated 32 kg CO2e saved by students choosing to bike instead of drive.
Greystone School Two grade 6 students completed a comprehensive report that recommends retrofitting the school's power supply with solar panels. The feasibility study included the following:
- an introduction to climate change and the need for clean energy
- recruitment of an industry partner, miEnergy, to analyze the feasibility of the project
- a SWOT analysis to analyse the viability of the project
- a visual model of the proposed solar panels
- a cost and energy analysis using the schools energy consumption data to show the effectiveness of solar panels
- expected environmental, social and financial outcomes
- and lastly, a conclusion that compels decision makers to enact the proposed project.
Students were in the final stages of their projects when schools shut down in March 2020. The range of topics and actions students were researching, auditing and taking action on are described below.
St. Augustine School Grade 8 The students were interested in school projects that would leave a legacy: setting up a composting program, improving the recycling systems in school, and providing each classroom with plants to improve air quality.
St. Michael School Grade 7/8 This class was able to set up the basics for a composting program at the school. The teacher is planning to put it in place once students are back in school.
St. Anne School Grade 6/7 SASF had both the 6/7 and 7/8 class from St. Anne this year. The classes took advantage of joint presentations and out of school learning to research their inquiry projects.
St. Anne School Grade 7/8 After schools closed these students created a video to summarize and reflect on their sustainability work.
St. Mary’s Wellness and Education Centre Grade 8 – Indigenous culture is a pathway to sustainable action. Students used Cree language and teachings to connect to SASF projects.
Willowgrove School Grade 6 Guest speakers and field trips provided students with a strong knowledge base to choose actions that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Westmount School Grade 4/5 The focus was on food, learning how to grow it, and reducing food waste by learning to compost leftovers.
Ecole Victoria School grade 6/7 This group had many creative projects including opening a thrift shop in the school to sell used items and planning for Meatless Mondays. Once school closed, they carried on with mini earth day projects related to the SASF topics.
Lester B Pearson School Grade 6/7 Students collected, sorted, and weighed recycling weekly to provide a clear picture of what recycling is like at their school, in preparation for change.
Montgomery School Grade 6/7: The classroom teacher partnered with the science teacher to support these projects. Both attended PD and worked together to plan the related learning.
Silverwood Heights School Grade 4/5 Students had a clear composting plan in place, with ideas for posters, presentations, and were collaborating with the school caretaking and administrative staff.
Ernest Lindner School Grade 7 Several small group projects addressed issues in the topics of energy, water, waste, transportation, and biodiversity.
- 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.
-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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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, Nutrien, 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.