36 environmental project ideas you could get funding for

Do current affairs make you think “EEEP!”? Are you a classroom or student group that wants to make a meaningful contribution to the environment and sustainability in your community? Look no further!

The AEF is currently accepting submissions for YEEG and EcoPitch. The Emerald Educational Engagement Program (EEEP) will launch alongside the Emerald Documentary Series and accompanying study guides in October. These youth grants support young people’s (under 25) environmental dreams. But where do we find the inspiration to get started?

In this post, I’ve included 36 potential environmental project ideas that you can do as part of a class, student, or community organization. My inspiration came from creating the study guides for the Emerald Documentary Series, which will be first released at the Premiere on October 6, 2019. Happy browsing!

  1. Create and implement a Green-To-Go program for buying food at your school.
  2. Host a recycling and waste awareness fair. Get each participating class, group, or individual to do a presentation or poster board to showcase an aspect of waste.
  3. Create and implement a lobbying campaign for sustainable packaging to convince local businesses, schools, restaurants, etc. to make the switch to sustainable packaging.
  4. Create a diverting program, like MacEwan‘s Stationary Stationery Station, for any type of item that goes to the landfill more than it should. Partner with businesses and organizations in your community.
  5. Create a pollinator habitat at your school or local community centre by planting a pollinator-friendly flowerbed, installing a bee hotel, and providing a water source, such as a birdbath. See tips from David Suzuki, the National Wildlife Federation, and Emerald recipient Edmonton and Area Land Trust!

    Infographic from the National Wildlife Federation

  6. Organize a fundraising activity, such as a bake sale or classroom cookbook, and donate proceeds to an organization dedicated to bettering the environment. You could choose to donate to the Alberta Emerald Foundation, EALT’s endowment fund, in which the Edmonton Community Foundation matches all donations, or another deserving environmental organization in your community.
  7. Write and publish your own species spotlight book on one, some, or all the local species in your community. You can include the species name, a description of the species with a photo, their place in the food chain, where you can find them, a cool fact about the species, why the species is important, the threats or challenges the species faces, and ways that someone could support the species. This can be a group project where each person writes a spotlight, or you can have multiple groups writing the spotlights.
  8. Organize a field trip to a nearby natural area. Spice it up with site-based activities, a litter-pick competition, birding training, a natural area exploration field guide, or whatever else would get participants engaged in their environment.
  9. Do an environmentally-focused scientific study, and share the results of that study with community outreach.
  10. Hire a wetland specialist to give a tour of a wetland in your area.
  11. Write a proposal and lobby for your municipality to adopt/incorporate an urban primary vegetation land inventory, as well as sustainable city development practices.
  12. Organize an urban ecosystem tour in your community, where you walk to see different urban ecosystems and provide facts and information about each ecosystem as you encounter them.
  13. Write a proposal for how you can improve watershed health in your community and execute it.
  14. Check and update your school or office’s energy efficiency using an accredited guide, and do a fundraiser campaign to help install innovations to make your space more energy-efficient.
  15. Host your own Finding Common Ground Community Speaker Series. Pick locations and dates to show Battle River Watershed Alliance‘s documentary, and have a facilitated discussion about energy and climate change in your community.

    Battle River Watershed Alliance

    Battle River Watershed Alliance

  16. Create your own live ecosystem. Your project could use a terrarium or an outdoor space that you want to landscape. Research the type of ecosystem you would like to make, and pick materials and organisms that will result in a biodiverse and healthy ecosystem.
  17. Create and execute a lobby and fundraiser campaign to get support for a needed land reclamation project near you.
  18. Do a science project on a renewable energy source. See some ideas here!
  19. Go to an energy science conference.
  20. Host a renewable energy fair.
  21. Do a fundraiser to install solar panels on your school or local community building.
  22. Hire an expert to teach youth how to build renewable energy projects.
  23. Organize a group camping trip. You could check out one of the sites that Emerald recipient Lloyd Dahl developed, such as Alix Lake or Haunted Lake Campground.
  24. Do a birding day trip where participants can practice looking and listening for different species of birds.
  25. Host a workshop to build bird nesting boxes, bat boxes, or bee hotels and set them up in a suitable environment.
  26. Take a trip to a local body of water. Prepare presentations and activities that inspire knowledge of water health and the ecosystems that are present at the site.
  27. Under proper direction or paired with a local nature conservation group, volunteer wrapping trees that are susceptible to beaver damage at a nearby site. Demonstrate the benefit of wrapping trees in regards to the impact on the organisms and their ecosystem.
  28. Lobby a restaurant, franchise, or supermarket to minimize their food waste with a Minimize Food Waste campaign. Actions could include writing to companies about what food waste is, their contribution to global food waste, and innovative ways that they could minimize their waste. If there is a local food rescue service in your community, suggest that they pair up to make minimizing food waste easy!
  29. Create a program to divert food waste from your school, office or organization to those in need.
  30. Create your own volunteer-based junk drive or pick up service for your community to sort, donate, and recycle junk. This could be a one-time event or you could incorporate fundraising to make the service reoccurring.
  31. Create a recycling program for your school, office or community to help minimize how much waste goes to landfill. Host recycling events for electronics and other harder-to-recycle materials, such as electronics and furniture.
  32. Take a field trip/tour to the Goodwill Impact Centre and see how they process their donation items and their commitment to sustainability. Learn about their community programs and what you could do to get involved.
  33. Do a donation drive. You could partner with Goodwill and use their toolkits or do a general drive and donate the proceeds to another deserving organization or charity.
  34. Host an upcycling workshop.
  35. Host your own energy efficiency workshop. Introduce the concept of energy poverty and what we can do about it.

    Empower Me

    Empower Me

  36. Create an energy mentor training program, with a focus on accessibility. Have graduates of the program engage their community in energy efficiency in some way.

Comment with your dream environmental project! We welcome you to get creative and pitch a project that gets you excited. We look forward to your submissions.

About the author: Celina Vipond is a MacEwan University student in the Bachelor of Science Program. She is the founding president of CLIMATE JUSTICE MACEWAN and a member of CLIMATE JUSTICE EDMONTON.

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