VIDEO – Student efforts to reduce consumption and promote sustainable practices at schools were commended recently at the Destination Conservation Year End Celebration.
The program is a project of Elements Society, a non-profit organization devoted to providing education “that inspires and empowers individuals and communities toward environmental, social and economic responsibility,” according to its website. The organization works with School District 47 to provide the program, which encourages and promotes sustainable initiatives in schools.
Last year student ideas and projects promoting energy efficiency and saving electricity won the District of the Year award out of all participating school districts in the province. This year trophies that were built the first year of the program by all the schools were handed out to the schools.
Students tackled water consumption and came up with programs to reduce the amount of water schools use. Laura Bamsey, program manager, said all the schools in the district have worked toward reducing water consumption through different programs, such as by having displacement devices installed in toilets to reduce water use and by starting programs that promote turning taps off.
“They’re really creative in coming up with good ideas and have a lot of energy and motivation to make change within their schools and within their community,” said Bamsey, “and it’s been great to have community members out here today supporting this initiative.”
Students at Henderson Elementary School promoted litter-less lunches which pitted classrooms against each other to see who could produce the smallest amount of waste during lunch break. Students also celebrated Earth Day by asking students to wear blue and green clothing and also with an assembly that featured an Earth Day trivia quiz.
“We should take consideration for the earth because we won’t have it this good forever,” said Fairah Peterson, grade seven. “So we should definitely try to keep it in good shape.”
Kevin Morris, district principal, spoke to the crowd and informed them that initiatives from the year before reduced the district’s output of greenhouse gases by 13 tons, which translates into a saving of $40,000. This money is going back into schools and some of it specifically to the programs that made the savings possible.
Next year’s focus will be on waste reduction and cutting down the amount of garbage coming from schools. To kick this off Coco Hess and Abbie McLennan, of BHC Consulting, spoke at the event about the Let’s Talk Trash Team, a promotional gimmick that their company will use to teach waste reduction in schools. The team consists of three cartoon rats who talk about trash and promote working toward a cleaner environment.