Posted: June 3, 2019
Leaves and the words "Eco Year Challenge"

Want to be a better friend to the environment but don't know how to get started? Join in the fun with WPL's 12 month Eco Year Challenge! From April 2019 to April 2020 we are working with partners to host events and fun activities that will inspire you to get green -- because little changes can make a big difference.

Explore Play Learn - Eco Challenge Edition

  • Monday, June 17
  • 10:30am to 11:15am
  • John M Harper Branch
  • For children 5 years of age and under accompanied by parent/caregiver
  • Space is limited; free tickets are given out in the library 30 minutes before the program begins

Special guest: Shefaza Esmail, SERS PhD Candidate, Faculty of Environment at University of Waterloo

The June 17th session of Explore Play Learn is part of the EnviroSTEM program initiated by BrainSTEM Alliance

Shefaza Esmail

5 Green Tips by Shefaza Esmail

Shefaza Esmail, SERS PhD Candidate, Faculty of Environment at University of Waterloo

Add Compost to Your Garden: Adding an organic component like compost every year to the garden will help improve soil health and quality. Your plants will thank you for it! And, did you know that you can get compost and mulch for free through the Region of Waterloo? It's true!

Plant Native Wildflowers: Wildflowers not only add beauty to your garden but also help bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. We wouldn't have food without pollinators, why not return the favour by planting some wildflower plants for them.

Avoid Pesticides: Pesticides and herbicides kills the good with the bad. It's like chemotherapy, you can try to target the cancer cells but the process also hurts the good cells. Pesticides persist in the environment and continue to cause damage. Instead look into alternatives such natural pesticides or co-planting with plants that release natural toxins for pests. Weeds can be suppressed with mulch use.

Limit Chemical Fertilizers: Chemical fertilizers contribute to environmental pollution. They may increase plant yield in the short term, but can have negative impacts to soil health and living things in the short and long term. While small quantities are okay, consider choosing alternatives such as bio-based amendments like compost, biochar, or mulch.

Stop to Smell the Flowers: When on a hike, trail walk, or even walking on the sidewalk, take a moment to admire the colours and beauty of the various plants and wildlife that surrounds us everyday. Especially as spring buds into full-fledged summer canopy, take the opportunity to reconnect with nature. If you see a flower, take a moment to breathe in its beautiful aroma.

Shefaza's Book Recommendations

The Backyard Homestead : Edited by Carleen Madigan

Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin (wonderful picture book for children)

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough and Michael Braungart 

The Earth Moved by Amy Stewart

Eco-Year Themes


  • April : Celebrate Nature (our Eco Challenge launch!)
  • May : Biking & Alternative Transportation
  • June : Composting & Gardening
  • July : Bees, Butterflies & Birds
  • August : Upcycling
  • September : Plogging
  • October : Textile Waste
  • November : Dispose Properly
  • December : Eco Holiday


  • January : Water
  • February : Animals
  • March : 100 Mile Diet
  • April : Energy Conservation