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The Coey Communicator



Hands-on Curriculum




Environment & Sustainability


Heather Coey

Reynolds Secondary School

3963 Borden St. Victoria, BC V8P 3H9 250-479-1696 ;



With every activity of our daily lives, we connect with the interdependent web of life on Earth.  The health of our environment is a reflection of the choices we make.”


           Course Outline




The overall goal of this course is to educate students about the environment and their place in it.  The course aims to show how actions can have a positive or a negative effect on our environment (both locally and globally) and thus empower youth to take responsibility and leadership in creating and maintaining a more environmentally sustainable way of life into adulthood.  The course aims to ‘get at’ both the aesthetic and practical components of environmental education…  When people come to understand the importance of biodiversity, they are likely to encourage or even participate in activities which support conservation and the sustainable use of resources. (Canadian Biodiversity Network)


It is very important to note that the majority of this course follows the project based learning model and consists of hands-on field work, explorations and action projects.  The objective is to get out and learn beyond the classroom as much as possible.


The format of the course also recognizes the new British Columbia Ministry of Education Environmental Learning and Experience document frame work of C.A.R.E. for understanding the various forms environmental knowledge can take.


Complexity ~Life on earth depends on, and is part of complex systems.

Aesthetics ~ Environmental awareness enables students to develop and aesthetic appreciation.

Responsibility ~Human decisions and actions have environmental consequences.

Ethics ~The study of the environment enables students to develop an environmental ethic.





Post Secondary institutions such as Royal Road University and U-Vic are now building Environmental Education Programs to meet the growing needs of our society.  Beginning this education at the high school level will be advantageous.  In Victoria, this is the only specific Environmental Course such as this being offered, and within it partnerships working with post-secondary programs will be possible.





The course will consist of 4 main components: 6 self-directed modules containing curricular objectives for a broad spectrum of Environment and Sustainability topics with response journal; 2 Eco-book club read and share; 4 workshop/discussion meetings spread out throughout the terms of the school year (4-8pm--including potluck 100 mile light dinner & ECO-Flick); and hands on project work within the context of Environment and Sustainability (recommend including involvement with school Get REAL group). 

  • The course runs outside the timetable all year to afford flexibility to its members.  Many students will receive a block off in the timetable for having this course outside the regular time frame.  This time can be used for individual meetings with the instructor, module work and/or project work in or beyond the school.
  • It is mandatory that students have e-mail connection for ongoing discussion and responses related to module work topics, keep the class connected as a group, stimulate thinking and to assist in facilitating hands on activity opportunities.
  • 4 times per year 4-8pm gatherings will be held for discussions, planning, workshops, project coordination and general support...and 100mile potluck & ECO-Flick!

contact instructor: for module descriptions

Task Required


Time (approximate hours)


PART 1: Foundations


Module 1

The State of Planet Earth journal entries


Module 2

Ecology 101 journal entries


Module 3

Nature Appreciation and Biodiversity journal entries


Part 1 Book Review

Book of choice—Part 1 Theme


2,  4-8 pm

Meeting Sessions

Discussions, Planning, Workshops, project coordination, 100 Mile Potluck & Eco-Flick



PART 2: Future


Module 4

Ecological Footprints & Sustainability Indicators journal entries


Module 5

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Restore journal entries


Module 6

Sustainable Future journal entries


Part 2 Book Review

Book of choice—Part 2 Theme


Unit 5

Taking Action Annotated Log of Involvement in related Activities


2,  4-8 pm

Meeting Sessions

Discussions, Planning, Workshops, project coordination, 100 Mile Potluck & Eco-Flick... final Meeting to be student presentations-- Power Point to Summarize what you learned during the course




Assessment Component:

Module Journal ~40%

Keep a journal where you make comments and discuss items as indicated in each module.  Include a module heading and the reference # for your entry.

Annotated Activity Log ~40%

The intent is for you to take ACTION and get involved in additional activities to support the theme of the course (see below for ideas).                          

Book Reviews ~10%

Read two books (one for each part of the course) and fill out a book review as well as include your thoughts from what you read in your journal.

Final Summary Project ~10%

Create a power point which summarizes all that you learned through this course


You will be assessed with the following rubric for each of these tasks and a personal interview:


          Work meets grade-level expectations

          Evidence that relevant learning outcomes have been met

          Required tasks are complete but perhaps minimally

Corresponds to:

Good Performance (C+; 67-72 %)

Very Good Performance (B; 73-85%)

          High quality work demonstrated consistently

          Very thorough

          Evidence of personal investment in tasks


Corresponds to:

Excellent Performance (A: 86-100%)


Environmental Activity Log May Include:

Taking part in the Get R.E.A.L. Group

Attending Film Viewings and Discussions on Environmental Topics

Attending extra workshops 

Attending conferences/forums/speakers on environmental topics (like the Fresh Minds Symposium at U-Vic or the Field trip to the Vancouver Aquarium---count time actually engaged in Environmental program only though J)

Conduct a research project on an environmental topic/issue

Volunteer Time with an environmental Activity (Recycle Depot, reFUSE food waste, Plastics recycling, helping with Salmon Enhancement Project, garbage pick up, clothing swap, Shore Keepers, Stream Keepers, Green Spaces, Glendale Gardens, helping with mulch at front/courtyard, building cold frames for garden, building compost bins for courtyard, planting in garden, building arches for vines, helping at Garry Oak work parties, helping with Life Cycles elementary school program for gardens as well as community garden work parties)

Creating entries for Green Games

Coming up with your own idea and implementing a plan…


Ideas for Larger Projects (one option of obtaining hours):

Maintaining recycling program at school

Maintaining Courtyard “green space” with sustainable gardening project

Native Species Plant Propagation

Natural Habitat Projection

Salmon Incubation Program

Watershed Care—Stream Keepers Program

Maintaining School Composting Program

Creating and updating a Website/Blog/Facebook site...

Engage in Provincial Pilot projects in line with curriculum and course goals  (e.g. Solar For Schools Project –in proposal phase)

Partner with U-Vic Students for Garry Oak Restoration/Conservation Projects

Marine Ecology Projects—Shore Keepers

Partner with Swan Lake Conservation and restoration

Partner with Glendale Gardens for Conservation and restoration

Blenkinsop Creek Restoration and Clean-up

Coordinate a bike/walk to school week

Coordinate a clothing exchange

Organize sales of organic/fair trade products

Coordinate a 100 Mile Diet event/challenge

Champion a positive change for our school: Water use, paper use, energy use…

Take part in the Sierra Club/Growing School mentoring program with elementary children for urban gardening projects


Note: this course is a survey course of a variety of topics and IDEAS/REFLECTIONS with regards to the broad category, Environment & Sustainability. It is not a heavy theory course but rather focuses on learning through doing and physically engaging in activities which support the main theme.  For students who wish to continue environment & sustainability studies at Reynolds, after taking this survey course, they may enroll in an independent directed study course for credit where the teacher and the student will design the learning objectives for the more focused topic(s) of choice together.







Learning Outcomes:


Students Will:

     Understand the C.A.R.E. framework for environmental study  

  • Develop an understanding of the need to conserve biodiversity and use biological resources in a sustainable manner
  • Understand basic ecological systems and human impact/influence on them
  • Understand the basic concepts behind conservation and restoration
  • Be aware of climate change science claims
  • Understand our limited Resources in terms of Water, Materials, Air, Energy and Land
  • Develop an appreciation of Nature and a sense of Stewardship through getting out in it (outdoor experiences and exploring)…identifying species (biodiversity there of) that we co-inhabit the planet with
  • Understand the concept of Sustainability
  • Determine measurable indicators (water, materials, air, energy, land, other) of sustainability in the local environment (School)
  • Research sustainability indicators to gain understanding and determine methods of measurement
  • Use tools such as water quality testing and emissions calculations to measure sustainability indicators chosen in any given year
  • Conduct research as necessary to obtain data on sustainability indicators and maintain progress over time, including arranging meetings with appropriate persons
  • Learn how to calculate one’s ecological footprint
  • Analyse the data collected and make recommendations for improving sustainability in the local environment & reduce personal and community ecological footprints
  • Extrapolate findings to global community
  • Create action plans for improving sustainability
  • Initiate action plans
  •  Engage in positive environmental projects (in collaboration with other school groups as desirable) throughout the course

  • Continue Action Projects begun by previous years’ students through continued assessment of the present condition of the local environment, and follow through the curriculum to the next level of action
  • Indicate a transfer of knowledge and skills gained in the course to their personal lives


Community Connections:
  • Glendale Gardens & Woodlands
  • Leadership Victoria
  • Sierra Club of Canada - BC Chapter
  • University of Victoria - Restoration of Natural Systems, Environmental Studies and Department of Geography 
  • Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary
  • Life Cycles
  • BC Hydro
  • Watership Foundation (Oceans & Fisheries Canada)
  • ENCORP, reFUSE, Pacific Mobile Depots
  • Cornocopia Peramculture Services
  • Saanich Planning~ Environmental Services
  • Ministry of Environment~ Ecosystems Branch (Wildlife Science Section)
  • Greater Victoria School District
  • Victoria Natural History Society

... and growing...

You are invited to be part of a sustainable future...