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Castlegar kids talk trash for Earth Day lead-up

By Wildsight
April 27th, 2016

In the weeks leading up to Earth Day, Castlegar students got the opportunity to see first-hand where our trash goes when we throw it away. Ms. Landis’s Grade 4 class from Kinnaird Elementary, as well as Mrs. Evdokimoff’s Grade 5/6 class and Ms. Elias’s Grade 4/5 class from Twin Rivers School, investigated waste management at the RDCK landfill in Ootischenia and the Waste Management Recycling Depot in Brilliant.

These students have been participating in Beyond Recycling, a Wildsight education program that tackles topics such as waste, climate change, ecological footprint and energy use. Using a hands-on approach and local community expertise, Beyond Recycling empowers students to come up with creative and positive approaches to environmental challenges.

At the Ootischenia Landfill, the students learned about various product stewardship programs and other initiatives to keep waste out of the landfill. They learned about the importance of maximizing space to prolong the lifespan of the site through an exciting garbage crushing and compacting demonstration.

“The students were shocked to see things like cardboard and perfectly good toys in the garbage pile,” says Jenny Wallace, the Wildsight Educator delivering Beyond Recycling in Castlegar. “They just couldn’t understand why such things would be thrown away when recycling and reusing is made so easy for us.”

At the Waste Management Recycling Facility in Brilliant, students witnessed the large quantity of recyclable material produced and shipped for processing in the West Kootenay region. Despite the huge bales of compressed recyclables, the students were surprised to learn that less than half of Castlegar households participate in curbside recycling. According to Wallace, “We walked away from the tours inspired to do our part to reduce, reuse and recycle our way to a greener future!”

In the classroom, Beyond Recycling students have been exploring another creative ways of diverting waste away from the landfill: recycled art. Students collected bits and pieces of garbage and recycling from home and then used their materials to create works of art with a message. Each student chose a theme for their artwork such as “hang your clothes to dry” or “plant a garden” that would encourage others to take positive actions to help the environment. These creative pieces of recycled art were put on display at both Twin Rivers and Kinnaird Elementary on Earth Day to inspire other students and teachers.

Wildsight acknowledges the generous support of the Regional District of Central Kootenay, Columbia Basin Trust, Fortis BC, the WC Kitchen Foundation, TD Friends of the Environment, BC Gaming, and teachers, administrators and parents from schools throughout the region.

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