On May 11, the J.W. McConnell Foundation recognized the Ecojustice Clinic at the University of Ottawa as a leader in “community service learning.” The Ecojustice Clinic is the world’s first interdisciplinary public interest environmental law clinic.

Ecojustice’s executive director Devon Page attended the award ceremony, which was held at the 2012 Canadian Alliance for Community Service-Learning Conference in Saskatoon, Sask. Community service learning combines classroom instruction and volunteer work that benefits students and their community. read more about the awards.

The clinic was founded in 2007 as a partnership between Ecojustice, Canada’s leading charity using the law to protect and restore the environment, and the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa. We provide free legal expertise to community groups and citizens, drawing upon the school’s strengths in environmental law and Ecojustice’s 20-year track record in defending Canadians’ right to a healthy environment. University of Ottawa students earn course credits as they assist Ecojustice lawyers and scientists in providing strategic advice and pro bono legal counsel to groups across the country.

At the awards ceremony, we released a video about how we’ve used community service learning to improve the lives of Canadians.

We at the clinic would like to thank the McConnell Foundation and all our generous funders (The Law Foundation of Ontario, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Barber Family Trust Foundation and Mountain Equipment Co-op). With their support, the Clinic is training the next generation of environmental law and policy leaders, engaging students in real public interest files and building capacity for civil society who seek to protect the environment.

We’d also like to salute the other award winners, who each took home $7,500 for their work in bettering Canada’s communities: Lakehead University’s Food Security Research Network; l’Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières’ l’Université de la Rue and l’Écol’Hôtel K; and the University of British Columbia’s The Aboriginal Community as Teacher program.