Forests Ontario

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Text to Give in Support of Ontario Envirothon

Posted: December 19, 2016

This month, Forests Ontario has the privilege of partnering with the Mobile Giving Foundation of Canada to build support fordonation-campaign-grow-their-future-forest our work in forest restoration, education, and awareness. Throughout December, simply text “FOREST” to 20222 to donate $5. Each donation supports Forests Ontario’s mission of growing healthy forests and inspiring the next generation of green leaders.

One of the programs your donation will support is the Ontario Envirothon. Every year, the Ontario Envirothon takes 1,000 high-school students beyond the classroom to learn how our their actions can support the health of our natural ecosystems.

Brooke Van Buskirk is an Ontario Envirothon alumni. Below, Brooke describes how her experience participating in the program made her more aware of environmental challenges and encouraged her to seek a new passion and career path.

Carving New Pathways
By Brooke Van Buskirk

“What on earth is Envirothon?” That was my initial thought when my grade ten enriched science teacher, Erin Mutch, approached me about Envirothon.

I can best describe it as a hands-on, environmental problem-solving competition for high-school students. At first, I was hesitant. From everything I had learned in school regarding the environment (cycles, climate change, etc.), I had decided environmental studies, of any kind, were not for me. I would commit to the three R’s, but that would be the extent of my personal engagement with environmental issues.

Before you get the wrong impression, let me explain myself. Entering high school, I already had my mind set that I would only

Brooke (second from left) talks about her Envirothon experience at Forests Ontario's 2015 Conference.

Brooke (second from left) talks about her Envirothon experience at Forests Ontario’s 2016 Conference.

take sciences in order to earn a post-secondary degree in Criminology before heading off to Law School. It wasn’t until my grade eleven year, after participating in Envirothon that my views and opinions of the environment began to change. Along the way, I learned life skills and realized exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Competing with a team of four others was both challenging and rewarding. It’s the skills that I have developed through my involvement in Envirothon that I continue to apply every day in clubs and team activities. Leadership, communication, presentation skills, time management, and solving complex problems are just some of the many skills I developed after participating in Envirothon.

My participation in Envirothon has continued to inspire a commitment to the environment. I currently volunteer at Salthaven Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, and continue working to educate others, helping to “regenerate” passionate environmental advocates.

I’ve been accepted to McMaster, Western, and Queen’s University to study Civil Engineering, with a focus on Environmental Studies for my post-secondary education.

I will always be grateful for my Envirothon experience and to my teacher for helping me find what I was truly passionate about before I even knew myself.

Brooke Van Buskirk is a Grade 12 student at Saunders Secondary in London, Ontario.