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Argyle Alternative High School has secured its reputation of being a forerunner in environmental education by securing 2nd place at Canada's Greenest School 2016 competition organized by Canadian Coalition for Green schools.
Argyle students have won several high profile contests with their documentaries, including those sponsored by Manitoba Water Conservation, Crazy for Composting, Caring for our Watershed and both Manitoba and the Canadian Councils for International Cooperation. The jury also noted Argyle's past recognition, including the Excellence in Sustainability Award and recognition at the United Nations conference.
Canada's Greenest School competition looks at schools that are weaving sustainability education into their curriculum and bringing programs and activities to students that encourage awareness about the environment. Participating schools are judged on criteria including:
- efficient use of resources and reduced environmental impact;
- enhanced health and learning among students,
- teachers and staff;
- and emphasis on sustainability and resource-conservation education.
Argyle scored high marks with the jury with their incorporation of aboriginal culture and teachings, including art and sculpture, as well as strong environmental stewardship and leadership demonstrated by the students. To share their knowledge and spread sustainable education to others throughout Canada, the students create and present short documentary videos with messages about how to implement sustainable development initiatives.
The school's waste reduction programs include a successful water conservation campaign, composting program and community garden. The school undertook extensive renovations that delivered a new and cleaner heating and air system; a new roof; upgraded and safer electrical services; and new learning areas including a library, science lab and art class. The renovations and indoor plants have helped improve air quality within the school and create a healthy environment for students and teachers.
Besides these improvements, students and staff take classes in Argyle's outdoor classroom and are able to receive the health and well-being benefits that come with the outdoor environment, such as exposure to natural light, clean air, communing with nature during field work.
Argyle Alternative student's achievements are an excellent example of Winnipeg School Division's strategic priority to strengthen and enhance sustainable development initiatives.