WWF-Canada offers grants for sustainable campus initiatives

New engagement program, Living Planet @ Campus, offers up to $500 to encourage sustainability

The WWF’s 2017 Living Planet Report discovered that half of all Canadian animal species are in significant decline. (Juan Cabrejo/The Omega)

WWF-Canada is offering support for sustainable student campus projects as part of their new engagement program, Living Planet @ Campus. Until Monday, Nov. 12, post-secondary students of majority age, faculty and staff are invited to apply for a “Go Wild School Grant” and receive up to $500 to help commence their winter or spring projects that help nature thrive on their campus.

Sarah Winterton, Director of Nature-Connected Communities, provided some context on some of the opportunities offered by the WWF.

“We have the opportunity for students to apply for funding to get an idea or project going on campus,” she said. “We have activities that students can engage in, including the Living Planet Leader program, but we also invite students to submit their ideas for dissemination nationally if it’s a really good idea that we think will get uptake on different campuses.”

The WWF is looking for ideas that pertain to protecting and restoring natural ecosystems, exploring new perspectives that advance the practice of sustainability, develop new methods related to the impact of climate change and reflect the value of nature in the campus community.

The projects will be evaluated based on the criteria of overall quality and relevance in the school community, student engagement, the potential to replicate on other campuses and its backstory, along with implementation planning and budgeting.

“We want to help amplify sustainable campus activities that are already going on,” Winterton said. “We review the proposals here at WWF and if they’re too complicated, we’ll add additional reviewers if needed.”

Selected grant winners will have the opportunity to build further and execute their project plan, network and collaborate with different campus stakeholders, in addition to being acknowledged on the WWF national website.

The Living Planet @ Campus project was created in response to their 2017 Living Planet Report, which discovered that half of all Canadian animal species including mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians are in significant decline. Those in decline have dropped on average by 83 per cent. Hypothetically, if the world consumed the same amount as Canadians, there would need to be 4.7 planets to sustain the global population.

“The Living Planet Report emphasizes how many species in Canada are struggling and we want to engage students who are going to be the decision makers in the future,” she said. “We want to make them start thinking about how we can help protect species, habitats and how we can transition faster to a sustainable society.”

Prior to filling out an application form found on the Living Planet @ Campus website, applicants must identify the target audience along with the necessary materials, expertise and research required for implementation. It would also be recommended to consult with the sustainability office and the Students’ Union for direction.