WINNIPEG, MB – The University of Winnipeg’s 1st annual Inukshuk Award for Outstanding School Leadership in Environmental Science was presented to Strathcona School today by Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg, to honour the commitment of the inner-city school children, their teachers and principals.
For several years, The University of Winnipeg has been running innovative programs including Eco-Kids on Campus to encourage inner-city elementary school children to learn about Indigenous and environmental sciences through workshops, labs and fun activities. Strathcona School has pioneered Eco-Kids on Campus. Anastasia Yereniuk, Strathcona School principal, accepted the Inukshuk Award for Outstanding School Leadership in Environmental Science at a noon hour ceremony on campus today.
“I believe strongly that the opportunity through Eco-Kids on Campus for our students to see the university as a safe and exciting place to learn will entice them to stay in school and stay focused on their studies and serve them well in the years ahead,” said Yereniuk. “Our children are much more aware of sustainable development and concepts of leadership as a result of this program.”
With the assistance of a private donation, Eco Kids on Campus is expanding in January, 2010 to include a second inner city school, Wellington School.
“The goal of The University of Winnipeg is to break down barriers to post-secondary education, and to provide opportunities to students regardless of socio-economic background,” said Axworthy. “We must close the graduation gap, particularly among those who are most vulnerable to dropping out of school including inner-city youth, children from war-affected areas, new immigrants and Aboriginal children. The University of Winnipeg has created a series of programs and bursaries to partner with and help support these youth beginning at elementary school age.”
In addition to Eco-Kids on Campus, The University of Winnipeg runs the largest inner-city summer camp in Winnipeg. Since it started in 2007, approximately 1, 800 children have attended UWinnipeg’s Eco-Kids Summer Camp under the leadership of Kevin Chief. Another 100 Grade 10 high school students have participated and received credit in an Enviro Tech course created by UWinnipeg devoted to environmental science. Several high school have now adopted the Enviro Tech course. And UWinnipeg has offered more than 400 students from disadvantaged backgrounds “fast-track” Opportunity Fund bursaries to ensure they can attend university.
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Diane Poulin, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
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