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Jan 8: Vancity & Evergreen Grants to B.C. Schools

Vancity & Evergreen Team Up to Grant B.C. Schools $12,000 for School Ground Naturalization

Vancouver, January 8, 2001 - Vancity Credit Union and Evergreen are proud to announce the recipients of the Vancity and Evergreen School Ground Naturalization Grant 2000. This year, 33 schools in the Vancouver and Victoria area received a total of $12,000 for planting projects that focus on creating habitat for native plants and animals, and provide students with learning opportunities and stewardship practice.

"This is a wonderful way to connect our young people with nature in these outdoor classrooms, and helps encourage an appreciation and respect for the natural environment. It's one more way for Vancity to give back to the community," says Greg McDade, Vancity Chair.

Grant recipients were chosen from over 45 applicants. Each school that applied is striving to transform their school ground from a sterile place with little educational or play value into an ecologically diverse school yard rich with learning potential.

Parents, staff and students from Kingsford Smith Elementary in Vancouver are creating a native plant garden as well as a community garden as part of a grand playground improvement project. New projects range from courtyard woodland plantings and peace gardens, to butterfly gardens and ponds. To receive the award, schools must demonstrate that their garden projects are sustainable, that they involve parents, staff, and even the nearby neighbours, and that they provide extensive opportunities for student involvement in design and ongoing care of the planting site. In each proposal awarded, teachers and administrators linked the current BC curriculum with their garden projects. In this way, students are given experiential learning opportunities where budget cuts and subsequently, reduced number of field trips have made such outdoor learning increasingly difficult.

"Schools are discovering that the school ground is among the most valuable educational resources available to teachers" emphasizes Shaugn Schwartz, Regional Director, Evergreen.

Evergreen is a national non-profit charitable association established in 1991 whose mission is to bring communities and nature together. The Vancity and Evergreen School Ground Naturalization Grant is a project under the Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds program. School ground naturalization is a process involving the whole school community in the collaborative improvements of school grounds for the purpose of curriculum extension through experiential learning.

Vancity is Canada's largest credit union, with $6.4 billion in assets, 263,000 members, and 39 branches throughout Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Victoria. Vancity owns Citizens Bank of Canada, serving members across the country by telephone, ATM, and the Internet. Both Vancity and Citizens Bank are guided by a commitment to corporate social responsibility, and to improve the quality of life in the communities where we live and work.

The list grant recipients for Vancity and Evergreen School Ground Naturalization Grant 2000 is available upon request.