Environment Matters

Sue Continelli

While environmental education is always a priority, Earth Day (April 22) presents an opportunity to highlight the environment as an important global issue. ETFO’s Teaching Greeis  an  after-school  workshop  designed to  provide  practical  strategies, resources,  and  curriculum  connections  that  support  environmental education and sustainable practices in the classroom and the community. As an organization, ETFO is committed to caring for and protecting the environment. This workshop meets an immediate need for members across the province. In the spring of 2010, a team of ETFO members from a number of locals developed this workshop to strike a creative balance between resource orientation and active participation. Promoting teacher confidence in environmental education, Teaching Green covers a variety of topics related to sustainability and community involvement. As one team member noted, “We wanted activities that could be used with our students the very next day and that would assist them in understanding that their actions could make a difference.” The Teaching Green curriculum fits well with the arts, language, geography, history, and media literacy.

The goals of the workshop are

  • to help teachers gain a deeper understanding of the importance of environmental education and sustainable practices connected to the classroom and the community
  • to effectively integrate environmental education through cross-curricular connections
  • to engage in dynamic professional learning that provides networking opportunities and highlights the need for an integrated approach to environmental education
  • to explore strategies to turn ideas into action in the classroom, the schoolyard, and the local community.

The workshops have been popular and well received by members and locals. One member noted that “the Teaching Green workshop offers an incredible opportunity for students and teachers to work together to investigate the why behind environmental education.  It  engages workshop  participants to think about their own personal reasons for pursuing this topic, so they feel they are stewards of the environment and agents of change.” ETFO has always been responsive to professional needs and understands the issues that matter most to our members. Teachin Green is  more  than  just  providing  resources  and ideas to cover curriculum expectations—it is another  example of how we strive to make a difference in the lives of our members and the students they teach.  


teacher reading book to classroom

JoAnne Formanek Gustafson reflects on Indigenous communities in northern Ontario fighting back against the legacy of environmental racism.

Jennifer Baron and Towana Brooks standing outside wearing masks while social distancing

Jennifer Baron and Towana Brooks consider Indigenous ways of learning from and with the land.