Small Ideas: $10,000


In 2016, the Manitoba Eco-Network partnered with Green Communities Canada, Urban Eatin' Landscapes and Brooklands School staff, students and families to create a beautiful outdoor classroom space for the school and its community. This was accomplished by conducting a depave project.

Depave projects involve the removal of unwanted, unused and often unsightly paved areas and their replacement with permeable surfaces such as vegetable gardens, native plantings and trees. We create beautiful green spaces and outdoor classrooms that can be used for decades by inner-city children. These programs not only benefit the community, they provide amazing educational opportunities for both school students and the public alike and are also great for reducing storm water runoff. Within our city this has a dual benefit of helping to reduce combined sewer overflows as well as the input of other contaminants to our waterways. The benefits to the community are also amazing as will be demonstrated by the following quotes taken from a letter of support that the Manitoba Eco-Network received from Mr. Rex Furguson-Baird, principal of Brooklands School.

"The students and community members learned the value of volunteer work and the plantings, raised beds and aesthetically pleasing result has been an invaluable tool for teaching them about native vegetation, how to grow their own vegetables, and various other aspects of environmental education. In short, it has become a valuable community asset, enjoyed and used by our teachers and students on a regular basis.

In addition to these many academic goals the project lead to a measurable improvement in neighbourhood pride. I have received many comments relating to a tangible connection created between the school site and the community members as they depaved with their own hands. That physical process itself has resulted in strong community ownership of the school yard that is reflected in a decrease in vandalism and an increase in reporting behaviours of neighbours.

I feel that our school has benefited greatly from this project and strongly support this kind of work and Manitoba Eco-Network's application to receive funding to conduct a similar project for other deserving students within our community."

We will host a DePaveMe! social media contest over the winter, with a site selected by the end of March, 2019. We will then brainstorm ideas for a site plan with staff and students, hire a contractor and coordinate a volunteer event day(s). The final plan will be approved by the winning school, volunteers recruited, safety training put in place and the event carried out either in June or September of 2019, dependent partly on weather and availability of participants.

We estimate that thousands of people will be impacted by our idea - this includes the staff, students and parents of those currently attending the winning school as well as the many staff, students and parents who will be impacted over the coming decades. These projects provide real, tangible and lasting results for both the environment and local community. Furthermore, we already have some funding to carry out this project and support in-kind from Green Communities Canada, so, please help us depave paradise and put up a garden plot! Thanks so much for your time and consideration.

Broker supported

Manitoba Eco-Network

Location: Winnipeg