Tree Canada Announces Winners of IKEA Canada Outdoor Classroom Program

$10,000 grand prize will help British Columbia elementary school develop an outdoor classroom

OTTAWA, Sept. 29, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, Tree Canada, the nation's leader in tree-related programs and resources, announced the two winners of the 2016 IKEA Outdoor Classroom Program. North Otter Elementary School in Langley, B.C. has won a grant of $10,000 for the development of an outdoor classroom, and École des Jeunes-du-Monde in Ville de Québec, QC will receive a $4,000 grant towards greening their school grounds.

"Tree Canada congratulates the winning schools and thanks the more than 50 applicants who submitted applications for the 2016 IKEA Outdoor Classroom Program," said Michael Rosen, President of Tree Canada. "We're confident both these highly-deserving projects will make a big impact on the schools, their students and the communities they live in." 

Outdoor classrooms are learning spaces that connect students, teachers, and communities to the natural world. A growing body of research indicates that students who spend time in natural environments are healthier, happier, and more creative. Teaching outdoors also makes educators more enthusiastic about their work and more innovative in their teaching methods and material.

IKEA Canada is committed to supporting childhood development, believing that kids should be healthy and informed, understand the natural world and their role within it, how things grow, and where their food comes from. The IKEA Outdoor Classroom Program, which was open to Canadian schools within 100 km of an IKEA store location, is the latest initiative in a 20-year partnership between Tree Canada and IKEA Canada which has made a positive impact in communities all across the country.

"At IKEA we want to have a positive impact on the communities where we do business and we know that these projects will make a substantial difference," said Brendan Seale, Sustainability Manager, IKEA Canada. "Opportunities like these reaffirm our commitment to continuing to create a better everyday life for the many people and our communities."

Since 1997, IKEA Canada co-workers have volunteered their time alongside Tree Canada to plant approximately 28,000 mature trees and shrubs to restore urban tree canopy in the communities around its stores across the country, providing cleaner air, reducing noise, preventing erosion, providing wildlife habitat, biodiversity, and shaded public spaces. The related CO2 emission savings from these trees are equivalent to taking about 4,600 cars off the road for one year.

IKEA's sustainability direction is outlined by its "People + Planet Positive" strategy: to inspire and enable millions of people to live a more sustainable life at home; to pursue resource and energy independence; and to take the lead in creating a better life for people and communities where it operates. IKEA believes that children are the most important people in the world, and IKEA Canada's community involvement and social impact focus is to support childhood development through projects that enlighten about how nature nourishes.

ABOUT IKEA CANADA
IKEA is a leading home furnishing retailer with 375 stores in more than 50 countries worldwide, which are visited by 884 million people every year. IKEA Canada has 12 stores, an eCommerce virtual store, 6 Pick-up and order points in Quebec City and southern Ontario and two Collection Points in Halifax and Saskatoon. The company also recently announced plans to open stores in Halifax and Quebec City. Last year, IKEA Canada welcomed 25 million visitors to its stores and 75 million visitors to the IKEA.ca website. Founded in 1943, IKEA's business philosophy is to offer a wide range of products of good design and function at prices so low, the majority of people can afford them. For more information on IKEA, please visit: www.IKEA.ca.

About Tree Canada
Tree Canada is a not-for-profit charitable organization established to encourage Canadians to plant and care for trees in urban and rural environments.  Tree Canada engages Canadian companies, government agencies and individuals to support the planting of trees, the greening of schoolyards, and other efforts to sensitize Canadians to the benefits of planting and maintaining trees. Since 1992, more than 80 million trees have been planted, over 580 schoolyards have been greened, and Tree Canada has helped organize eleven national urban forest conferences. The next Canadian Urban Forest Conference will take place in Laval, QC in 2016. More information about Tree Canada is available at www.treecanada.ca.

SOURCE IKEA Canada

For further information: Richard Walker, Director of Communications and Program Development, Tree Canada, 613-567-5545, ext. 224, rwalker@treecanada.ca

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