Students lead the conversation on a healthy and green Calgary at the 34th Mayor's Environment Expo

Every year at City Hall, students host exhibits and engage in discussions with professionals, learning about and taking the lead in conversations on conserving and protecting Calgary's natural environment. The Mayor’s Environment Expo empowers and educates youth to practice and promote environmental actions that contribute to shaping a healthy and sustainable city for both the present and the future.

In its 34th year, thousands of elementary, junior high and high school students attended environmental workshops, and several classes proudly displayed their innovative environmental projects and educated other participants and the public about the importance of this work at City Hall.

On Wednesday, June 7, Mayor Gondek toured the eco-exhibits and learned the depth of knowledge and enthusiasm Calgary youth have about the environment. “No matter what age we might be, the Mayor's Environment Expo shows us that we all have a role to play in protecting our planet,” said Mayor Gondek. “The creativity and dedication demonstrated by these students to making their schools, communities and city more sustainable is inspirational."

The Expo is held during Canadian Environment Week, which celebrates Canada’s environment accomplishments and encourages Canadians to contribute to conserving and protecting their environment.  This year’s event runs June 5 – 8, 2023.

More than 30 online sessions are being offered throughout the week, combined with more than 100 in-person sessions over the course of two days. Sessions are designed to educate and empower students to take their learning beyond the classroom – and ultimately, to become the environmental stewards of tomorrow.

“The Expo is amazing! I get to learn cool stuff that helps the earth and find out about how it works...We share knowledge with other classes, and they teach us new things with their projects. It's so much fun!”  said Nathan Rufus, Grade five student at Our Lady of the Evergreens. 

With schools playing such a vital role in the event's success, the partnership with the  Ecoschools Alberta program provides opportunities to support classrooms in their efforts to learn about environmental sustainability and climate solutions. The global, award-winning certification framework has been providing independent reporting and recognition for schools and environmental education centres since 2005.   

For schools who participate in the certification framework, The City provides free transportation to the event. Here are some notable projects at The Expo this year, that took part in the EcoSchools program:

Our Lady of the Evergreens School  

The school’s project featured an indoor gardening space that allowed them to harvest radishes and carrots and start seedlings for their outdoor grow space. They successfully built five subirrigation planters and coded an automated irrigation system with a solar power prototype. Additionally, the project included an indoor composting challenge and active participation in full school Earth Day activities and Earth Hour. They also organized a school community event dedicated to electronics waste collection.

Nathan Rufus from Our Lady of the Evergreens shows off their automated irrigation system












Nathan Rufus from Our Lady of the Evergreens School shows off their automated irrigation system 
St. Pius X School

The school's project aimed to promote environmental sustainability through various initiatives. These included creating a pollinator and food garden, implementing subirrigation planters and an automated irrigation system, adopting indoor composting practices, actively participating in Earth Day activities and Earth Hour and organizing a community event for electronics waste collection.

Students from St. Pius X School show off their projects to Mayor Gondek around reducing our environmental footprint, changing our behaviours and “bee-ing’ the change.

Over its remarkable 34-year history, The Expo has educated more than 75,000 students and provided a platform for sharing innovative ideas on protecting and managing our natural environment. Through interactive exhibits, displays and workshops, students explore ways to act at home, work and school and do their part to create a healthier and greener city.

Teachers can sign up for the Expo’s mailing list to get notified when next year’s registration goes live on which we expect in April 2024