Global Climate Strike

Last Friday, the school went to the climate march. The march began at 12pm at Queen’s Park and went along Wellesley Street, down Bay Street, along Queen Street past City Hall, and then back up University Avenue to Queen’s Park.

All the attendees were either students or adults that are concerned about the state of our planet/future. We were at the protest to tell our government that we are disappointed that they are not doing something to save our planet. We were there to also tell them that if they don’t do something now we will not have a future.

The event had a big impact. “It’s thousands of people marching down the street,” says Quinn. “I hope the government will listen because if they don’t, the human race will become extinct because of the amount of carbon in the air.”

For some students, the event was challenging. “I thought that it was very crowded,” says Claire. “There was so much cheering going on.”

But regardless, Friday’s Climate Strike made some clear connections to what our students are learning. “It demonstrated how people want to change the government,” explains Logan. “In Civics class, we talked about how important climate change is in relation to how it impacts people and society.”

By the Grade 10 Civics class

Check out more photos from this event on our Facebook page!

YMCA Academy Community Garden

The YMCA Academy is located right in the heart of the downtown core, however we do our best to stay as connected to the environment as possible. We have a green wall, plants all around the school and even a vermicompost! One of the highlights of our annual YMCA Cedar Glen trip is the time we spend on the farm, planting, harvesting and caring for the grounds. It is so nice to see the students getting their hands dirty, being outside away from technology, and finding relaxation in this work. For all of these reasons we decided to build our very own urban garden on one of the terraces connected to our school!

Step 1: Design
Our Green Industries class designed sub-irrigated planter boxes. With the location of the terrace, distance of a water source and direct sunlight, it was important that the planter boxes were designed with these limitations in mind.

Step 2: Create
Students in our Gardening Club, and Green Industries class worked together to build and assemble the bins. Building these bins required students to have a strong grasp of the design, collaborate with each other and follow the design instructions.

Step 3: Prepare
Our Personal Fitness class spent the morning hauling heavy soil and materials to the terrace garden. Each of the bins required several bags of soil so the team had lots to carry! Students were instructed on proper carrying techniques to avoid injury.

Step 4: Plant
Every student in the school was assigned one plant to bring in for the garden. Once they were all brought in our Green Industries class organized and planted them. Students brought in an excellent variety of herbs, vegetables, fruit, and flowers that attract bees and butterflies.

Step 5: Care for
As a community of staff, students and volunteers we all play a role in caring for our garden. Depending on the weather, the gardens are watered once a week and checked on each day for changes, needs and the opportunity to harvest.

Step 6: Harvest
The fresh vegetables in the garden were harvested by students daily, many vegetables and herbs such as cherry tomatoes, chives, and green were harvested for lunch time snacks and cooking club. The majority of hot peppers were harvested by the students in the 7 / 8 program and made into hot sauce!

It has been incredible to see the impact the garden has had on our school community since the garden has been built and begins to grow. Many students and staff have expressed how much they love getting the opportunity to spend time outside and around the plants. Many of us are over the moon when something begins to grow, fruit, or is ready for harvest. One of our students in particular has expressed that a quick visit to the garden helps to settle him, reduce stress and anxiety and gets him ready to focus in class.

Overall the garden has been a great success and we are looking forward to expanding our garden even more next season!

Take a look at our Hot Sauce blog to see what we did with this years harvest and check out the rest the rest of the pictures on our Facebook page!

Community Garden: Design, Create, Prepare | Community Garden: Plant, Care, Harvest

Annual Cedar Glen Trip

Another year, another trip to Cedar Glen. The much beloved three day, two night trip was a resounding success. The weather was a mix of cool, wet weather, and beautiful snow of the course of the 17th, 18th, and 19th of October. This did not stop the students and staff from enjoying the great outdoors.

As has become tradition, the school’s environmental stewardship was spent working on the on-site farm. This year the staff and students helped to plant garlic, and blackberries as well as helping to prepare the farm for the winter. Despite the cold, perseverance was paramount, as the campfire and night hike were overwhelmingly popular activities.

Overnight a thin blanket of snow covered the ground as the first annual Academy Games kicked off. These events had teams of staff and students going from station to station doing a variety of activities such as trivia, archery, and fire-building. Excitement was high as the teams made their way back to enjoy a nice meal, and afterwards, a dance party!

Time wore on, giving way to a mixture of excitement and sadness, excitement for getting back to the routine of daily life, yet a longing to remain in such a fun and beautiful place. Such is the nature of the trip, and it gives us something to look forward to next fall.

Check out the rest the rest of the pictures on our Facebook page!

Album One | Album Two | Album Three

Contributing to the Urban Forest!

On September 12, three classes from the YMCA Academy took a field trip to the beautiful Toronto Islands to help plant native trees and shrubs to contribute to the urban forest! The Grade 10 Personal Fitness class, Grade 11 Math class and Grade 7/8 class all participated in this great initiative, organized by the City of Toronto. It was a beautiful, sunny day outside and the student’s ended up taking the ferry to Ward’s Island and then walking east towards St. Andrew-by-the-Lake Church. The walk was long but ended up being a nice warm up hike before getting to planting.

Once the classes arrived, a City of Toronto worker gave the students a tree planting demonstration. There are lots of important steps involved in planting a tree, especially making sure that the hole is big enough for the tree to grow in. After the demonstration, student’s paired up and started planting! The students worked together really well and got better at digging and planting with each tree they planted. It was great to see older students pairing up with and the Grade 7/8’s. About 2 hours later, the job was done! Together with other volunteers, our students helped to plant more than 200 trees on the Island! Though it was hard work, the classes did hands on work for a great cause. All students had a great time and were grateful to have spent their morning in such a beautiful place contributing to Toronto’s urban forest.

Food and Nutrition Class Potluck

On Friday, March 2nd, The Food and Nutrition Class had a potluck. We had this potluck so we could learn how to cook and bring in our meals to show to the class. The whole class was there and some of the other teachers outside of class like Dayna, Zoe, Luka, Andres, Zee and others came to try our food. Everyone enjoyed it. It was exciting to see what other people had made and to try everyone’s meals and to bond as a class and watch a movie while eating. Some of the meals that people brought in included:

  • Mac And Cheese (Rosie)
  • Crusty French Bread (Charlotte)
  • Pizza Rolls (Owen)
  • Pizza (Logan)
  • Grilled Cheese with Ham (Adrian)
  • Beef Stir-fry and rice (Spencer)
  • Addie brought some delicious mac and cheese It Was LIIIIIIT.

After having a huge buffet, I think everyone was stuffed at the end! There were leftovers and we ate them at home over the weekend. We are really looking forward to the next potluck, in April. Yum yum!

Blog post written by: Students of the Food and Nutrition Class