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For immediate release

Media Release

Empowering Youth to be Sustainability Champions in Markham

Unionville—October 27, 2017

About 20 students from Milliken Mills High School became citizen scientists today, learning about and monitoring the health of Bruce Creek, a tributary of the Rouge River watershed.

This stream study marks the launch of the GREEN program in Markham, a collaboration between General Motors of Canada, EcoSpark and Milliken Mills High School. GREEN teaches young people about their local watersheds and engages them in civic projects to improve its the health.

As a platinum-certified Ontario EcoSchool (the highest possible certification), Milliken Mills High School is a model school when it comes to being “green.” Their activities include tree planting, habitat and trail restoration, growing local food on school grounds and eco-fairs that engage the entire student body and community.

“Being part of the GREEN program provides a sustainability framework for all of our green activities to increase our overall impact at the school and community at large,” said Christopher Williams, Head of Personalized Alternative Education and the school’s Green Inc. Club.

This event is the first of many steps designed to empower students to develop solutions that address the health of local streams over the course the school year. GREEN gives students the skills and knowledge to support a healthy and sustainable environment.

“The GREEN program recognizes that youth have an important role in the current and future health of our watershed,” said Joyce Chau, executive director of EcoSpark. “What attracted us to this program is the focus on long term impact where students are informed, engaged and empowered to take environmental action.

“General Motors is committed to youth-oriented action in sustainability through our GREEN program,” said Simon Guan, Senior Environment Officer at GM Canada. “With a new GM facility in Markham, we are excited to partner with EcoSpark and Milliken Mills High School and be directly involved in supporting for student-driven sustainability projects in our newest community.

"I'm grateful to be involved in a real opportunity to bring students and environmental issues together to solve problems,” shared Shamar Brown, a student at Milliken Mills. “It gives us a voice and action in a crazy world."

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Photo caption: EcoSpark, GM and Milliken Mills H.S. teachers and students discovered a great biodiversity in the Bruce Creek indicating good water quality.Milliken Mills student sieving for benthos in Bruce Creek to determine its water quality

For more information:

Joyce Chau, EcoSpark: (647) 258-3280 x 2005, joyce@ecospark.ca

Simon Guan, General Motors: (298) 685-2221, simon.guan@gm.com

Christopher Williams, Milliken Mills H.S.: (437) 350-1285, christopher.williams@yrdsb.ca


About EcoSpark

EcoSpark is an environmental charity whose mission is to empower communities to take an active role in protecting and sustaining their local environment. We do this by giving people the tools for education, monitoring and influencing positive change. To date, we have directly worked with over 57,000 people from across Southern Ontario in over 20 watersheds. www.ecospark.ca.

About General Motors of Canada

General Motors of Canada is committed to STEM education, environmental stewardship, and sustainability in our communities. GM’s GREEN, in partnership with Earth Force who supports the program delivery across North America along with local partners, engages 12,000 young people and hundreds of community members each year across Canada and the U.S. www.gm.ca/gm/english/corporate/about/environment/community

Milliken Mills High School

Milliken Mills High School is a platinum-certified Ontario EcoSchool in Unionville. Their strong environmental program is anchored in a vibrant Green Inc. Club, a Specialist High Skills Major Program in the Environment and T.E.A.M. (Teaching Esteem and Academics at Milliken) – an award-winning alternative education program. www.yrdsb.ca/schools/millikenmills.hs/