Earth Hour March 26th 2011

KPR SCHOOLS CHAMPION EARTH HOUR ONCE AGAIN,  MARCH 26 @ 8:30 PM

 For the fourth year in a row, the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board (KPR) is championing Earth Hour in all of its schools and communities.

Millions of people across the globe will be turning off their lights to mark Earth Hour, from 8:30-9:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 26.   KPR also encourages its students, staff, parents and community members to “power down” their computers, televisions and other electronic equipment during that time.

“KPR champions Earth Hour because it reinforces our ongoing focus on environmental responsibility,” says Board Chairperson Diane Lloyd.  “With more than 100 schools and buildings, we believe we have a responsibility to reduce our ecological footprint as much as possible.  

“We have been doing just that for over a decade,” she adds.  “Just a few examples of our efforts include using only green cleaning products; buying only Energy Star rated appliances; replacing older equipment, lighting, windows and building materials with more energy-efficient models; automatically turning down heat and turning off computers in all buildings when they are not in use, and much more.”   

“Environmental responsibility ties directly into character development and into the curriculum in all grades," agrees Director of Education Rusty Hick.  “We teach our students to respect and protect the world around them.  Increasing numbers of KPR schools are planting their own gardens, emailing parents their school newsletters to reduce paper consumption, expanding their recycling and composting programs, doing neighbourhood or shoreline clean-ups, and involving students in introducing even more ways to protect our planet.”

In addition, 12 KPR schools have registered this year to be certified as official Eco Schools.

“We are particularly pleased with Earth Hour’s international theme this year: ‘This Earth Hour, go beyond the hour’,” Hick adds.  “Our hope is that this annual event will spur people to take permanent steps to reduce their ecological footprint.  Many schools use Earth Hour in March, and Earth Day in April, to celebrate their year-round environmental efforts.”

KPR is once again encouraging families who participate in Earth Hour to register on the KPR website at www.kprschools.ca  Registration will open at 9:30 p.m. March 26, and remain open until March 30.

The Board also encourages families to share their Earth Hour stories - and offer suggestions for fun, family-friendly and electricity-free activities - on the KPR blog.  The blog is accessible on the home page of the Board website,www.kprschools.ca.  
In 2008, the first year that KPR championed Earth Hour, 1,061 people registered on the Board’s website as having participated in the event.  This year, the Board hopes to beat its record of 4,029 registered participants.

KPR also has won two awards for its annual Earth Hour campaigns.  They include a Gold award from the Texas-based Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals in 2008, and a BRAVO! Award of Distinction from the Canadian Association of Communicators in Education in 2009.

Look for more information after the March Break on special activities KPR schools are planning in honour of Earth Hour.

Further information on Earth Hour from WWF, its international sponsor, is available at www.earthhour.org

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