Jack Leslie Youth Environmental Grant

Get up to $1,000 of funding for your youth environmental project!

The Jack Leslie Youth Environmental Grant honours the positive impact former Mayor Jack Leslie had on the city and the environment, and is awarded to youth in Calgary who continue his efforts. Projects must include the following:

  • Be located in Calgary
  • Directly benefit the environment in Calgary
  • Be planned and implemented by youth

Applications for the 2023 awards will open in November 2022. Join the Mayor's Environment Expo mailing list to get information and alerts about the Grant.

The Jack Leslie Youth Environmental Grant is supported by the Jack Leslie family, The Parks Foundation, The City of Calgary and Youth Central.


2022 Award recipients

Briar Hill School Rain Garden

The student's project is to create a rain garden that will help protect the Bow River watershed. The garden would collect rainwater or snow melt from impermeable surfaces such as the school roof and allow it to infiltrate into the soil rather than ending up in our storm water system.  Another goal of this project is to develop the environmental stewardship of the students; teaching them that we need to protect our source water and exposing them to alternative ways to lessen climate change.  This project is connected to the grade 5/6 science units of Trees and Forest and Wetlands Ecosystems.  In these units, students are expected to explore how human actions such as creating rain gardens can preserve and enhance wetland or tree habitats downstream.  Additionally, the students will see first-hand the interconnectedness of all life and hopefully see the importance of protecting our water from pollution, drought, and waste.

The Infinity Garden

The John G. Diefenbaker (JGD) high school environmental club, (the Green Chiefs), together with Sir John A Macdonald (SJAM) Junior High, are working with on a collective project called the Infinity Garden. Initial construction of the garden is complete and the second phase, involving planting of up to 12 trees, various bushes, and plants important to First Nations culture, as well as adding some seating stones to the garden space, is just starting.

The goal of this garden is to provide a space where we can teach youth in our community about the importance of conservation while simultaneously providing a historical link through Indigenous teachings. Traditional acknowledgement of the land enables us to gain a better understanding of the past, in addition to showing both recognition and respect for Indigenous Peoples. The garden will be a living acknowledgment of the land, providing a space for meaningful engagement in First Nations teachings and culture, providing a venue for community activities such as concerts, meetings with local elders, drum ceremonies, and more.

Watch the video of the Infinity Garden project:

Calgary French and International School (CFIS) Environmental Resilience Strategy - Phase 1

The Calgary French and International School (CFIS) Environmental Resilience Strategy is a project, led by a grade 8 student, is aimed at achieving sustainability and a green school campus. There are multiple goals linked with the project including rain barrels, among others. An end goal for this project would be green energy conversion for the school campus or even carbon-neutral goals. This is a continuous project that will be developed over the years.

As for the rain barrel project, this is the first environmental effort being acted on that the strategy has laid out. The purchase of rain barrels will give this project more of a voice and raise awareness in the parent community to join fund raising efforts to contribute to the green effort at CFIS.

2021 Award recipients

Mount Royal School Naturalization Project

Many of the students who attend the inner city Mount Royal Junior High School live in multifamily complexes and want to create more natural areas around their school.

With a high English Language Learning population, students will also benefit from horticultural, hands-on learning as it provides practical knowledge and an access point for immigrant families into the community.

By building an edible garden and naturalization area, students will receive the supplies and knowledge needed to harvest food that will foster a personal relationship with the food they eat.

This will also facilitate their appreciation and stewardship for the land. Receiving this grant creates a foundation for exploring permaculture design and establishing outdoor learning environments. A local community expert is collaborating with the group mentoring to incorporate native flora into the green spaces. 

Legacy Tree Project at Robert Thirsk

The Legacy Project will reduce carbon emissions by planting trees. For each graduating student at Robert Thirsk High School, a tree is planted in their honor to reduce 0.6% of their car emissions created annually, once the tree is fully grown.

After successfully planting 540 trees to honour the 2020 graduates there are plans to expand the project. The ultimate goal is to find a piece of land to plant the trees of future graduating classes on to create a forest space for students to visit outside of Calgary.

This will increase the tree survival rate and give students a place in nature to connect with. Until the land is finalized, the trees will be given to students to plant on private property.

Trees will also be given to citizens in nearby communities to spread awareness about climate change. Finally, the project will be further integrated into the community by having the high school students work with an elementary school as they create a garden on school grounds. A bench will be placed in the courtyard to remind students of the intentions of this project. 

Fireweed Plant Restoration Project

This project aims to restore native plants in Calgary, starting with Fireweed, which is attractive to pollinators like bees and butterflies.

Initially, Fireweed seeds will be ordered and started by youth volunteers. Seedlings will be planted around a lake in the Taralake community in the spring. Once approval has been granted from the city, this will expand to more areas.

The ultimate goal is to increase the plant population in Calgary which will reduce carbon levels, restore native species, and give residents a free source of Fireweed that can be used for tea.


2020 Award recipients

The Crescent Heights Baptist Church Youth for ‘Fresh Food Gardens’

There is a wide demographic of people who live within the community who are in need. By building a garden bed on the south side of the church building, the youth will plan a garden and plant fresh vegetables and fruits for those in the community who are in need of fresh food.

The William Aberhart High School Eco Club (WAHS) for ‘School Composting’

In September, The William Aberhart High School Eco Club (WAHS) will install a composting program throughout their school. Students will assist with collecting the compost, and bringing to the janitorial staff who will empty them into their already-existing compost site. The goal is to succeed where other composting programs have failed with buy in at the student level.


2019 Award recipients

Earth Guardians YYC environmental group for the 'Flower of Waste' project

Their goal is to create a beautiful and large wild rose structure made out of garbage, recycling, pipes and wires. They are hoping to showcase their project at elementary schools, create a game show and trashion show. They will clean up garbage out of parks schoolyards, and road ways for supplies. 

St. Mary's High School

St. Mary's High School Environmental Action Team (E.A.T) for the "Mary's compost and recycling" project. Their goal is to have replaced all individual trash bins with a combination of trash, recycling and compost options providing options and choice for St. Mary Students.