The YLS program is set in Nogojiwanong within the traditional territory of the Mississauga Anishinaabeg and other Indigenous Peoples who have shared this land. This territory is subject to the terms of Treaty 20 and the Williams Treaty. The region is also known as Peterborough Kawartha in southern Ontario. The region includes the First Nation communities of Curve Lake, Hiawatha and Alderville.
Our classroom is split between Trent University and “PACE @ PCVS” (Peterborough Collegiate) – typically (but not always) Monday – Thursday at Trent, and Fridays at PACE.
One of our two classrooms is on the beautiful, green main campus of Trent University, within the School of Education in Otonabee College. The Trent University setting will provide us with access to a rich learning environment in general, and to staff, professors, and events (workshops, conferences, special presentations etc) more specifically.
YLS graduates achieving an average of 80% in the two environmental-themed courses will earn the first year credit Foundations of Environmental Science and Studies (ERSC101OH) from Trent University through a “cross articulation” agreement signed between Trent U and the Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB.
Trent’s School of the Environment is a national leader and Trent’s Indigenous Environment Studies Program is the only one of its kind in Canada. Trent’s School of Education has a very strong focus on sustainability and Indigenous education. The spacious campus setting also provides us very easy access to vegetable gardens, forests, fields and river to get our regular dose of “Vitamin N” (Nature!)
Our other classroom is set within the beautiful corridors of historic Peterborough Collegiate, within the Peterborough Alternative and Continuing Education program (PACE). This classroom setting gives us easy access to many program-relevant downtown organisations, events, and locations, such as GreenUP, City Hall, the Peterborough Downtown Farmer’s Market and Jacksons Park for example. It also gives us access to regular high school services and facilities such as an auditorium, a kitchen, science labs and a guidance department.
Much of our learning will unfold in the Peterborough/Kawartha/Haliburton community as we take frequent field trips to investigate best practices in sustainable community-based agriculture, renewable energy production, transportation, urban design and more.
We will spend time with surrounding First Nations communities, and will travel within the Southern Ontario region for further exploration of best sustainability practices.
In January of 2017, the Peterborough/Kawartha/Haliburton region was designated by the United Nations University (UNU) as a Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) for Education for Sustainable Development. The RCE initiative recognizes communities from around the world that demonstrate leadership in addressing complex sustainability challenges, and works to network these communities to support even greater innovation and collaboration. We are only the 3rd such designation in Canada.
YLS Project Director Cameron Douglas was part of the interim steering committee that prepared the successful application to the UNU and is very pleased that YLS will will have an opportunity to contribute to and benefit from active participation within this sustainability education network.
The RCE application identified six long-term objectives that will guide the work of the Network moving forward. They align strategically with YLS objectives and include:
- To recognize the vital importance of Indigenous Knowledge Systems as they engage across all curricula
- To implement age-appropriate sustainability and stewardship education frameworks from pre-school to secondary school, in both formal and informal settings
- To build strong bridges between school curriculum and the spectrum of programs offered at Trent University and Fleming College
- To link post-secondary programs and community-based training programs to green jobs, research, and innovation in the region, and
- To develop reciprocal exchanges of sustainability knowledge and practice between residents within the region and with communities across the globe
- To support the goals of the UN Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development