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University of Toronto Schools Recognized as Forests Ontario’s Ontario Envirothon Champions

Posted: June 20, 2019

The Ontario Envirothon champions, University of Toronto Schools, were presented with a cash prize of $2,500 from charitable foundation Maple Leaves Forever for their achievement in the academic-environmental competition. The cheque presentation was held at the University of Toronto Schools’ Humbert Street location today, with Executive Director, Deb Pella Keen from Maple Leaves Forever and Director of Marketing and Business Development, Chantal Cory and Manager of Education, Allison Hands from Forests Ontario in attendance.

Executive Director of Maple Leaves Forever, Deb Pella Keen (2nd from the back left), was pleased to present the Ontario Envirothon champs University of Toronto Schools with a cheque.

This year’s Ontario Envirothon was the first ever ’virtual’ competition, hosted online by the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment. “We were excited to host this year’s competition, because it provides a challenge for some of Ontario’s keenest young environmental thinkers,” said Brendon Larson, Associate Dean-Undergraduate Studies. “The online format this year allowed greater accessibility for students from across the province, and lowered the environmental footprint of the competition.” Held from May 27th to 31st, the competition saw 90 students from 18 teams test their knowledge of soils, forestry, wildlife, aquatics, and agroecology. As the reigning champions for the sixth year in a row, University of Toronto Schools will go on to represent Ontario in the NCF-Envirothon later this summer in North Carolina.

The Ontario Envirothon is a unique environmental education program that immerses students in hands-on learning and discovery, offering budding environmental leaders a chance to explore career paths in the natural sciences and receive mentorship. “Maple Leaves Forever believes the topics covered by and skills developed through the Ontario Envirothon compliment the foundation’s vision of environmental sustainability,” explained Deb Pella Keen. “We are pleased to be involved in the recognition of the top teams for the fourth year in a row.”

Maple Leaves Forever also recognized the second and third place teams. Runner-ups Westmount Secondary were awarded a prize of $1,250, and third place team London Central Secondary School received $750 from the charity.

The Ontario Envirothon is coordinated by not-for-profit charity, Forests Ontario. “The Envirothon program has been delivering the best in hands-on, scientific competition for the past 25 years. We are truly proud to deliver this program in Ontario,” said Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario. “The 2019 championship upheld Envirothon’s legacy of encouraging students to grow their confidence, their knowledge, and their teamwork skills. These skills are imperative for tomorrow’s green leaders.”

The Envirothon program is an environmentally-themed academic competition for high school students, held across Canada and the United States on regional, provincial, and bi-national levels. The first-place team from the provincial and state Envirothon Championships go on to compete in the NCF-Envirothon. In total, more than 500,000 students across North America participate in Envirothon competitions annually.

Right to left: Deb Pella Keen (Maple Leaves Forever), Cole, Amanda, Christina, Cate, Michelle, Rhianne, Allison Hands (Forests Ontario), Diana Castro (Forests Ontario), and instructor Elizabeth Straszynski.