The Program


Youth Leadership in Sustainability (YLS) is a new and innovative program based in Peterborough, Ontario that will prepare grade 11 and 12 students for leadership roles in local and global sustainability initiatives at the local and global levels.  The one semester program is launching September 2018 and is open to students from any KPR, PVNC, private or home school, provided they can get themselves to Trent University on school days.

YLS represents a partnership program with Kenner Collegiate, Trent University, the Kawartha World Issues Centre (KWIC) and Fleming College. The YLS classroom is on Trent University campus but the program will take us into our forests, communities, and the larger region!

YLS will be taught as an integrated 4 credit package that will give us much flexibility in our day for extended field trips and outdoor exploration. Our learning experiences outside and within the traditional classroom will be rich and incorporate teachings from Indigenous and global perspectives.

Why YLS?

Many young people are acutely aware of the threatened state of our planet, but lack understanding of the complexity of issues and solutions and have rarely been given the means and opportunity to take positive, meaningful action.

Big challenges like climate change that impact food and water security, forest and ocean decline and human migration urgently need bright and creative young minds to help find and implement solutions. At the same time, the quickly emerging clean/green economy is offering up exciting, meaningful and well-paid jobs to those who have the right skill set.

YLS immerses students in the concepts, controversies, and best practices in sustainability.  Traditional Environmental Indigenous ways of Knowing provide the starting point . Through application of this learning in real, local community settings students gain confidence in their leadership abilities. Leaders in sustainability need to know how to facilitate communication and then mobilize and innovate within their communities. These “soft” leadership skills are taught and practiced within YLS programming, as are the specific verbal and written communication skills that are necessary to interact with media and political power.

YLS students will take the leadership role of creating and facilitating a peer-based Kawartha Sustainability Youth Network (skill development and action-based) which will encourage and facilitate collaboration of youth across high schools in the Kawartha region. In doing so, the impact of YLS will extend well past immediate program participants.

Teaching and learning within YLS is organized around the “Integrated Curriculum” format, where students are together with their teachers throughout the day. This approach provides almost unlimited flexibility for us to move between our classroom, community and travel settings and allows us to take advantage of new learning opportunities on short notice (conferences, special presentations, workshops and other scenarios).

Academic Program

Participating grade 11 and 12 students will attend YLS for one high school semester (fall 2018) and earn 4 OSSD high school credits which will be offered at the University and College preparation levels in partnership with Trent University and Fleming College.

  • World Issues | CGW4U/C: (“big picture” on environment, economics, human rights, globalization, disparities in quality of life)
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  • Environment and Resource Management | CGR4M: (“hands-on” exploration of sustainability in climate change, energy, food, transportation, housing, water, urban planning and biodiversity. Focus on “best practices”)
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  • Sustainability Leadership | IDC3O: This Interdisciplinary Studies course was created for the YLS program and will help students develop skills from a range of subject areas to become leaders in sustainability and will dove-tail with the learning they are doing in the other three YLS courses.  It draws curriculum from Equity and Social Justice: From Theory to Practice (HSE4M), Issues of Indigenous Peoples in a Global Context (NDW4Mand Entrepreneurship (BDI3C – with focus on green and social innovation)
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  • English – Contemporary Aboriginal Voices | NBE3U/C: Grade 11 English full equivalent with focus on Indigenous authors and their perspectives on relationships with the land (otherwise referred to as sustainability). Communication skill development aimed specifically at leadership development.
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  • NOTE:  Grade 12 participants will earn a Eng4U or 4C credit. The Grade 12 Eng. will be taught alongside the NBE Eng. course using mostly or all Indigenous authors, but some assessment, readings and activities will be differentiated as set out in the Ontario curriculum.
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First year credit from Trent or Fleming

YLS graduates achieving an average of 80% in the two environmental-themed courses will earn the first year Foundations of Environmental Science and Studies credit (ERSC101OH) from Trent University (through a “cross articulation” agreement)

Similarly, graduates in the college stream of YLS courses will earn the 1st year Skills for Stewardship and Sustainability (NATR8) credit from Fleming College’s School of Environmental and Natural Resource Science.