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Weston Family Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow Program Develops Next Generation of Eco Leaders with Program Expansion to Urban Communities in Northern Ontario

May 10, 2012


For Immediate Distribution

(Toronto, May 10) More students across Ontario are getting an outdoor experience unlike any other.  Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) along with The Living City Foundation and Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority, are pleased to announce the expansion of the Weston Family Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow Program.  The program will now launch in Windsor, Sarnia and London due to the generous support from The W. Garfield Weston Foundation. Over the next three years, more than 4,500 students from urban communities across Ontario will be provided the field trip of a lifetime, immersing them in a natural setting at one of Ontario's five premier outdoor education centres and inspiring them to become the next generation of environmental leaders in their community.

"Thanks to The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, The Weston Family Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow Program is fostering the next generation of environmental leaders," said Brian Denney, CAO, Toronto and Region Conservation. "The program's hands-on learning model has been very successful in developing a student's overall ecological literacy and we are excited that this program is expanding and giving more students the opportunity to connect to nature."

The Weston Family Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow Program has three core guiding principles in environmental leadership, community action, and ecological literacy.  The principles are taught through a unique model of student learning. Many typical environmental education experiences start and end at the field centre, where a student takes a field trip to an outdoor education centre.

"TRCA has been a leader in teaching children about ecosystems and encouraging them to care deeply about the natural environment," said Camilla Dalglish, Director, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation. "The Foundation is very pleased to continue our support to TRCA as they take the Weston Family Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow program to other communities across Ontario."

The Weston Family Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow Program, utilizes an integrated approach to environmental learning, where lessons and experiences for the students and the teacher are combined with in-school classroom learning. This maximizes the potential for student success both in the classroom and in the community. This model has also shown to inspire students to take action by applying lessons learned directly on local school or community projects.

"With an acute shortage of public funding for outdoor education field trips, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation has made an unparalleled contribution to the environmental education of students and communities across Ontario," said Darryl Gray, Senior Manager, Education, Toronto and Region Conservation. "This is the first time that we have brought all of these amazing partners together to deliver a program with a shared vision of improving student learning opportunities, including providing access to some of the most amazing natural spaces in the Province. We are excited to have the opportunity to bring this new program to students and communities across Ontario."

The Weston Family Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow Program is an innovative province-wide initiative that brings together a wide range of partners focused on supporting student leadership and environmental learning. Program partners include:

  • Toronto and Region Conservation
  • The Canadian Ecology Centre
  • Ganaraska Forest Centre
  • YMCA Camp Ki-Wa-Y
  • MacSkimming Outdoor Centre
  • Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority
  • Royal Botanical Gardens
  • The Laboratory School at The Dr. Eric Jackman Institute for Child Study



About TRCA

With over 50 years of experience, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) helps people understand, enjoy and look after the natural environment.  Our vision is for The Living City®, where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature's beauty and diversity.  For more information, call 416-661-6600 or visit us at

About The W. Garfield Weston Foundation

The W. Garfield Weston Foundation is a private Canadian family foundation, established in the 1950's by Willard Garfield Weston and his wife Reta.  In 1924 Garfield inherited his father's company and during his life established bakeries and other successful enterprises throughout Canada and in many parts of the world. Today, these businesses include the George Weston Limited and Loblaw Companies Limited, companies in food retailing, processing and distribution.  The founders believed that as the funds are generated through the hard work and success of these Canadian companies, grants should be given in Canada for the benefit of Canadians. For three generations, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation has maintained a family tradition of supporting charitable organizations across Canada. Today the Foundation directs the majority of its funds to projects in the fields of land conservation, education, and science in Canada's North.


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Media contact:

Elizabeth Oakley
Tel: 416-661-6600 ext 5856

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