Student Learning Blossoms in Outdoor Classrooms


New funding from national Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds program helps create a new Food Garden at John Norquay Elementary School

Vancouver, BC October 20, 2014 – To enrich students’ learning experience through nature, John Norquay Elementary School received $500 in funding from Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds, a national program that helps create inviting, dynamic school grounds with diverse natural features. The funding will support John Norquay Elementary School’s greening project to create a new Food Garden.

The new Food Garden will give students, present and future, the opportunity to learn about and connect with nature right on their own school grounds. The John Norquay Elementary School’s project will consist of six raised planter boxes 4 foot by 8 foot in size each.

“We knew we had an opportunity to give our students something special,” says Valeria Kao, Garden Committee Project Manager. “Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds generously helped give our students the opportunity to get their hands dirty and learn from nature on our school grounds.” Toyota has a rich history of respect for people, continuous improvement (or kaizen) and giving in the communities where associates and customers live, work and play. Since 2000, Toyota Canada and Evergreen have partnered to bring school communities together to transform barren school grounds into healthy, natural and creative outdoor classrooms. The Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds program has reached over 3,000 schools across Canada providing funding and consulting support. The program connects with schools locally through regional Evergreen consultants and Toyota Dealerships across the country.

Benefits of school ground greening projects are many: increased enthusiasm for learning, environmental awareness and stewardship, enhanced motivation for teaching, improved student behaviour, increased physical activity and opportunities for community involvement in school life.

“Respect for the environment is built into Toyota’s core values, and aligning with like-minded partners like Evergreen allows us to share this respect with future generations,” says Mr. Seiji Ichii, President and CEO, Toyota Canada Inc. “Toyota Canada is proud to support the Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds program. Through the program, over 1.4 million Canadian children to-date have learned to respect the environment, and their enthusiasm for nature will ensure a greener world in the future.”

“A learning experience through nature can instil a lifelong sense of stewardship and environmental activism in students,” says Geoff Cape, Executive Director, Evergreen. “Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds helps Canadian schools transform lifeless, asphalt yards into green school grounds to give students the opportunity to play and learn in a natural environment.”

About Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds (

The Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds program brings school communities together to transform barren school grounds into healthy, natural and creative outdoor classrooms. By planting trees, shrubs and vines, and adding shade, seating and heritage vegetable gardens, learning opportunities come alive. These outdoor classrooms provide students with a healthy and safe place to play and learn while developing a genuine respect for nature and for each other. Since its inception in 1992, the Learning Grounds program has provided more than $2.1 million in funding to schools in Canada, helped green more than 2,366 school grounds and affected the lives of more than 1.4 million children.

About Toyota Canada Inc. (

Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) is the exclusive Canadian distributor of Toyota and Lexus cars, SUVs and trucks, and Toyota industrial equipment. TCI supports more than 300 Toyota, Lexus and Toyota Industrial Equipment dealers in Canada with services that include training, marketing and environmental and customer satisfaction initiatives. Toyota’s Canadian operations include automotive assembly plants in Cambridge, ON (Toyota Corolla, Toyota Matrix, Lexus RX 350) and Woodstock, ON (Toyota RAV4), which together employ more than 5,700 Canadians.

TCI’s head office is in Toronto, with regional offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Halifax and parts distribution centres in Toronto and Vancouver. Toyota has a rich history of respect for people, continuous improvement (or kaizen) and giving in the communities where associates and customers live, work and play. This is why Toyota Canada Inc. and its Dealers align with like-minded organizations like Evergreen. Since 2000, Toyota Canada has partnered with Evergreen in support of the Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds program.