Today’s Poll

Students from around the Columbia Basin celebrate Earth Day

By Contributor
April 27th, 2014

Kids in classrooms around the Columbia Basin celebrated Earth Day this past week with students from Nelson and Castlegar visiting the Ooleschenia Landfill, the Brilliant Recycling Centre and Nelson Transfer Station. 

Celebrated around the world, Earth Day (April 22), is a time to celebrate the earth, our home.

Kids participating in Wildsight’s Beyond Recycling program have planned a variety of hands-on activities to celebrate, sharing their learnings with their schools and their community.

Recycled art projects, planting salad greens and pollinator-friendly flowers, making paper from recycled newspaper, energy efficiency building tours and Trash to Treasure art, encouraging them to consider consumption in a new light. 

“The best part of the program is watching the kids become empowered, recognizing that their individual actions can have a positive impact and make a difference”, says Monica Nissen, Wildsight’s Education Program Manager. 

Beyond Recycling is a 22-week, classroom-based program for grades 4-7 delivered in 11 schools across the Columbia Basin. The program takes students on a journey to understand the impacts of lifestyle choices and highlights the importance of individual actions in creating sustainability.

It is action-based, solutions-focused curriculum, inspiring and empowering youth to take a leadership role in making positive environmental and behavioural changes in their homes, schools and communities. 

“I think the best part of the program is how we make a difference. If we try, we can change the world. We have ideas to change”, says student and participant Denovah B. 

Lessons are centered around the ecological footprint concept, allowing students to measure and explore the impact of their lifestyles. Issues like climate change, energy consumption, product lifestyles, water, food and waste are explored through demonstrations, simulation games, debates, discussions, hands-on activities, hosting local food potlucks.

Highlights include a tour of the local landfill and recycling centre and the multi-week ‘Eco-Challenge’, in which students challenge themselves to reduce their energy consumption, generate less waste and reduce their ecological footprint. 

“People need to experience it to understand it”, says Wildsight’s Dawn Deydey, creator of the Beyond Recycling program. “Just talking about it doesn’t do it. Being it, living it, touching it does. This is the heart of the program”. 

Beyond Recycling is in its seventh year and it has been delivered in 40 classrooms across the Columbia Basin to 962 students.

This year, it is currently 11 classes in the following communities: Kimberley, Cranbrook, Kaslo, Nelson, Castlegar, Fernie, Winlaw and Creston.  

Wildsight wishes to recognize the Columbia Basin Trust, Government of Canada, BC Hydro, Fortis BC, Regional District of the Central Kootenay and Waste Management Inc. for their generous support of this program.

Cutline: Students from Hume Elementary joined others from Twin Rivers and St. Joseph’s schools for a visit to the Ooteschenia Land Fill and the Brilliant Recycling Centre. — Submitted photo

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