Skip to main content
District HomeStaff PortalEmailPassword Reset
Durham District School Board
Ignite Learning
Highbush PS students make working with the environment a natural part of their lives

Students from Highbush Public School celebrated their success in creating an environmentally friendly school climate with the release of 60 tagged Monarch butterflies recently.


After winning the City of Pickering's Celebrating Sustainable Neighbourhoods program, elementary students from Highbush P.S. Eco Club quickly got started on their community enhancement project win by putting $10,000 donation to good use in their school community.

Eco Club students have been very busy over the last six months protecting their environment through understanding the concepts​​, principles and benefits of activities such as conservation, recycling and simple acts such as turning off power when not in use.

The City of Pickering recognized the work of the club and partnered with Highbush P.S. on their
Celebrate Sustainable Neighbourhood Program with the release of 60 tagged butterflies who will be starting their journey to fly to Mexico.​

​​​In bringing the meaning of the benefits of the
Eco Club back into perspective, the Highbush
Eco C​lub teacher lead explains “I would love for students to really just have those small lifestyle changes that make the big difference like planting native species, appreciating the space they have and protecting it by turning off their lights when they leave their house in the morning, having multiple power bars in their home to shut TV’s and computers off. A little water drop in school here
will hopefully end up making a big influence on
the ocean of environmental stewardship that we need to be doing to protect their future
and environmental future.”

"The purpose of the program was to really bring the city and the School board together," explains Highbush Eco Club teacher Mike Ringrose. "Since then we've had a really close relationship planting over 100 trees and finishing our garden."

"It's a great opportunity as a teacher to be able to influence the minds of tomorrow and be a little more environmentally conscious," he explains. "Last year I approached them and let them know the city wanted us to apply... the students created a slide show and presentation which people watched and voted for. 

It's really the ​students' hard work and enthusiasm creating their goals and their focus for the program that really keeps their minds in it and keeps them focussed," says Ringrose.

Eco club member and senior student Sahar and her friends have been involved with the club for a few years. "We all started around grade six by doing recycling around the school and doing projects to help the school be more environmentally friendly," says Sahar now in grade eight.

"We all just really enjoyed the club and we actually liked helping the environment. We get to go around and plant trees and do it all with our friends," states Sahar who is headed to Dunbarton H.S. next year to join her sister at that school's Eco Club.

"Each day we're helping even more and more. We're helping the environment and having a healthy neighbourhood near us," adds Sahar.

The project includes:

  • an educational, water-efficient, native butterfly garden that has official designation by Monarch Watch (contains 700 plants from 28 different native species)
  • an interpretive sign and decorative plant markers
  • a bench made from recycled materials to sit, relax, and enjoy the new space
  • a dynamic art feature made from recycled materials that portrays a butterfly's lifecycle
  • eight new trees near the sport fields to offer shade for players & spectators
  • release of 60 tagged Monarch butterflies at the project launch

"This project is a true celebration of the staff and students' passion and dedication to making Pickering a sustainable and vibrant community," said Chris Braney, Durham District School Board​, Trustee, Pickering.​

View m​​ore photos​ ​on this story on our Facebook pageFacebook.jpg



Durham District School Board
400 Taunton Road East,
Whitby, ON
L1R 2K6 Canada

Phone: 905-666-5500
Fax: 905-666-6474
Toll Free: 1-800-265-3968
TTY 905-666-6943, 877-868-5575
© Durham District School Board, 2013