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From coast to coast, schools in Canada are at the forefront of environmental change. Student eco-heroes are working non-stop to do their part to protect the planet by designing and leading innovative environmental projects and programs that have a positive impact in their schools and local communities.
Great work is being accomplished by schools across the country and the following three examples are just a small sample of the exceptional creativity and energy demonstrated by student eco-heroes.
In Castlegar, BC, students, staff and parents at Kinnaird Elementary School (see photo above) united to create a five-year plan to green their school grounds. Together, they transformed what was once a parking lot and grass field into a rich and diverse natural space featuring 40 mature trees, five large shrub gardens, and an enclosed vegetable garden with 10 large garden beds. The schools also purchased indoor grow-lite stations, developed curriculum support tools for the gardens and pond, and established a school-wide composting and recycling program.
In Corner Brook, NL, students at Immaculate Heart of Mary School developed the IHMS Keen on Green-Sustainable Model Greenhouse Project, a model of sustainable agriculture for other schools and greenhouses in Newfoundland and Labrador. Using the technology of heat pumps, their greenhouse enables students to be leaders in agri-food innovation all year round while complementing their current green initiatives (recycling, composting, schoolyard naturalization and outdoor education). With the tremendous support of their community, staff, parents and local businesses, students proudly harvested their first crop in 2013 and donated it to those in need. As a result of this leadership, IHMS was chosen to participate in the Little Green Thumbs Project sponsored by the provincial Department of Agriculture.
Rhonda Brothers, divisional sales manager at Staples Corner Brook, and Immaculate Heart of Mary students, Joey Lyver, left, and Thomas Randell celebrate after announcing to the school that they won $25,000 worth of new technology from Staples Canada. (The Canadian Press Images)
Finally, students at École Arthur Pigeon in Huntingdon, QC, adopted nearby Schryer stream through the “J’adopte un cours d’eau” (I adopt a stream) project. The entire student body help to improve the stream’s health including grade 9 students who keep an inventory of the macro invertebrates living in the stream and grade 10 students who take physicochemical measurements. Students have also performed a reforestation project to help stabilize river banks and work to maintain, clean and develop an adjacent nature path for citizens of the village to enjoy in every season. The school plans to continue to help promote science to grade 11 students, encourage student participation in environmental projects, such as the development of a birdhouse park, and equip a computer lab with laptops to facilitate on-site studies.
Students and staff of École Arthur Pigeon, in Huntingdon, Quebec, with Daniel Mastropaolo and Caroline Larouche (middle in blue shirts) of the Staples store in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield. The school is a winner of the Staples Superpower your School Contest, receiving $25,000 worth of new technology for their environmental efforts. (The Canadian Press Images)
The hard work of these schools and students has not gone unnoticed. In 2015, Staples Canada, in collaboration with Earth Day Canada, recognized and awarded these outstanding schools with $25,000 worth of innovative technology to help further their environmental work and education through the Staples Superpower your School Contest.
Do you know a school of student eco-heroes? Staples Canada and Earth Day Canada would like to recognize and celebrate a new group of schools for their eco-efforts and have recently launched the 2016 Staples Superpower your School Contest. Schools can enter now for their chance to win 1 of 10 prizes of $25,000 worth of technology. Entries will be accepted online from December 3, 2015, to January 29, 2016. Please note – entrants must be an elementary or secondary school located in Canada that is either publicly funded or independent with charitable status. Get full contest details.