East-end school to host climate change festival

City-initiated Danforth Nature and Climate Expo aims to motivate people of all ages to take action

Wilkinson Public School is the place to be May 6 for people who want to learn more about nature and climate change.

The schoolyard on Donlands Avenue, just north of Danforth Avenue, will be packed with 25 tables staffed by reps from local organizations, presenting information about nature conservation, ecology and what individuals can do to help combat climate change.

“We’re targeting it toward the entire family,” said Crystal Melin, parent, organizer and volunteer with Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions.

“We have activities for children as young as two and really valuable information for anyone of any age,” she said.

Melin notes children like to pass on what they learn. They play a key role in getting people to take action, especially their parents.

“They’re the motivators,” Melin said.

First year for Expo

This is the first year for the city-initiated event, known as as the Danforth Nature and Climate Expo.

In its TransformTO report the city wants citizens to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions across Toronto to net zero by 2040 — a decade earlier than initially proposed.

To get the Expo underway Melin applied for a grant of up to $2,000 last year then followed up with eight weeks of training to learn how to bring the community together to create projects and programs to address local climate change.

Melin estimated up to 300 students will be taking part, many from local high schools.

“We have students doing almost anything and everything from tabling to greeting to doing surveys,” she said.

When Melin says the event is accessible she means not just for wheelchairs but also for people of little means. “We’re telling people to leave their wallets at home.”

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. the schoolyard will be divided into three zones: nature, waste reduction and active transportation. The latter is about ways to get around without using fossil fuels.

There’ll be quizzes, plant-based desserts, a raffle for eco-friendly items, an obstacle course, a learning garden, an eco talent show and hands-on activities where participants can earn tickets to cash in for prizes.

For children, prizes will be “previously-loved toys,” said Melin — the idea being to promote the principle of recycling and reusing rather than throwing away unwanted items.

Indigenous teachings about environment

As Melin spoke to Streeter she was walking the Danforth with her backpack full of posters she was putting up to advertise the event. Posts were also going up on social media, and Toronto–Danforth MPP Peter Tabuns and Councillor Paula Fletcher were giving it plugs.

Tabuns and Fletcher will speak at the Expo along with Doug Anderson, a member of the Métis nation and advocate for Indigenous teachings about the environment.

Volunteers will conduct questionnaires with people to see what they learned at the Expo and where they see themselves taking action to combat climate change.

“What I hope people will come away with is that climate action isn’t something that we can pin on the federal government or even the provincial government in order for Toronto to meet its emissions decrease,” Melin said.

“It’s going to really require local citizens to take action.”












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Posted: Apr 30 2023 11:48 am
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto

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