LEAF Team Finishes 2nd at 2020 Ontario Envirothon Competition

Envirothon is an annual team-based challenge open to students and sponsored by Forests Ontario. Their mandate is to incubate tomorrow’s environmental leaders. In previous years, 200 schools have participated. The theme this year was Waste Diversion. Each team had to create a detailed plan for a fictitious school of 1600+ people that would move them from their long-established diversion rate of 40% to at least 90%. Teams must address complex issues including economic viability, stakeholder engagement, social acceptance, and have a thorough knowledge of best practices, all presented in a compelling 15 minute video.

Let’s hear from some of the team members.

Why I decided to take on this challenge
By Shirley Li '21

I joined the ‘LEAF - Remotely’ co-curricular group late but I’ve always been a part of our LEAF team at LCS. I was invited to the planning meeting for the Envirothon challenge. When I found out we only had less than two days to submit this presentation, I was hesitant. However, my passion for the environment outweighed my hesitation. Our team had also proposed a sustainable “zero waste” blueprint earlier this year to the leadership team giving us a decent understanding of the issues and many strong resources we used in our final presentation.

Remote teamwork is challenging
By Jana Rubel '22

When I looked up at the clock, it was 3 am Germany time, the evening of the competition deadline. However, it was the moment where I felt the most accomplished, after submitting my clip for the presentation. I jumped on the idea of competing, well aware of the stress that stemmed from the time limitation. Nevertheless, I was willing to put in my energy to help our team succeed. I did not care that the final meeting had no end time on our agenda. I just wanted to help as best as I could. In the end, we were successful although we are all miles apart, which shows that you can always be connected, included in a community and work collaboratively, no matter where you are in the world. 

Using what we have learned from our own environmental initiatives
By Louise Prindiville-Porto '22

It was a race against the clock working as a team to put our presentation together, but it also provided a means to reflect on what we have learned in our environmental initiatives at Lakefield. One of the reasons we were able to do so well on such short notice was because we were able to blend together many of our own successful initiatives from earlier in the year into our presentation, such as the Clean Plate Challenge and Earth Week. It has been inspiring to look back upon what we have done this year and the improvements we’ve made.

My biggest takeaway from the experience
By Caroline Chen '21

48 hours, to produce one 15 minutes presentation, LEAF said: “Let’s just do it.” Three 2-hour long zoom meetings later, I was truly impressed by my teammates, who I’ve been fighting alongside with for climate justice for almost a year. Competing for Envirothon took courage and brought out the most supportive side in us. Everyone contributed eagerly and sacrificed our free time purely out of passion. During the process, we bounced ideas off each other generously and demonstrated flexibility by absorbing every feedback with no pride. Although some communication was cut off by internet lag, our team spirit and collaboration skill wasn’t hindered one bit. Throughout our environmental stewardship journey, every LEAFer is rewarded by incredible growth as individuals and as an effective team. As a small club, we devote our time and effort behind the scenes planning events and endeavoring to reach a larger platform and empower more people. LEAF is more than just a co-curricular. We proved the impossible possible in 48 hours, scattered around the world, which encourages me to believe that we can accomplish anything and make a real difference.Before the pandemic hit, LEAF had worked for months to launch the Clean Plate Challenge initiative, reducing food waste in the dining hall by 40%. We learned real life lessons about waste management. Our 2nd place finish didn’t just happen as a result of a time crunch. We laid out a solid foundation through our past initiatives. They all served as inspirations to tackle the competition prompt.

2020 Envirothon Team Members:
Caroline Chen '21, Shirley Li '21, Maxwell Lu '21, Louise Prindiville-Porto '22 and Jana Rubel '22
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Lakefield College School is a private, coeducational boarding and day school for students in grades 9 through 12, located in Lakefield, Ontario, Canada.

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