What one EcoTeam is doing to make their school more “Green”

IMG_0240Many schools are taking steps to become more sustainable in the classroom, so it wasn’t surprising when an educational assistant from Sacred Heart School came to Green Venture to ask about purchasing a vermicomposter. The part that surprised me was that she was contacting me on behalf of her Eco Team; it was her students who decided to get a composter.  They wanted to reduce the amount of waste they create, and they led the fundraising project so their school could achieve this goal.  Of course I had to meet with their Eco Team to see learn more about what they were up to.

The students were eager to tell me all about their hard work, achievements and future plans. The team is made up of 25 students between grades 2 and 8. Their latest project was raising funds for a vermicomposter. The idea to get a composter came from seeing all the waste from the breakfast program. The school started with recycling, but wanted to decrease their waste even further. Thus began their quest for a composter. The students came up with an action plan, which started in October. The first part of the plan was how to come up with the money for a composter. They decided to sell bracelets.  They made bracelets in their spare time at school and even on the weekends. Once they had enough bracelets they starting selling them, within 3 weeks they had raised enough money. Even they were surprised how fast they could raise the money at 25 cents to a dollar per bracelet.

Green Venture was delighted to hear the students gave so much of their time and efforts to raise money for the vermicomposter, and we gave them a discount to help with the costs. Green Venture also offers a Totally Transit Kids program where Green Venture partners with the HSR to educate students on the importance of sustainable transportation and gives them a free chartered bus ride to EcoHouse. The students came to pick up their worms in February and learned how to care for them by going on a tour of Green Venture.

They are also currently working on a battery drive, and have collected 2,183 batteries, with a target of 3,000 batteries. The best part of this drive is that once the target is reached they will celebrate by having a wear green day. They have also reclaimed areas from weeds and planted new plants. They have visions of more shade for their playground and a bigger teaching garden. They have created a garden space which is limited now but the Eco team has visions of creating container gardens.IMG_0246

The school has a recycling program, but what makes their program unique is that garbage gets monitored by the Eco Team upon collection. If the class makes it a week with proper recycling they get one letter of a word, and once all the letters in the word Recycle, are collected they get a pizza party. The Eco Team says this has helped with students making sure waste gets put in the right place.

Another great sustainable practice that the students promote is turning the lights off every day from 2 to 3. Each class is to turn off their lights during this time to help save energy and resources.IMG_0244

The EcoTeam charts how the students get to school, promoting sustainable transportation. Daily Eco tips and trivia are included in the morning announcements. The team has even put on an environmental themed play about how you can live more sustainably.

Future ideas for the team are bottled water versus tap water taste test, walk to school day, and raising money to get t- shirts for the Eco team.

As someone who has a passion for teaching and the environment, it so exciting to see schools promoting student led environmental initiatives in their schools.

For more information about Green Venture, vermicomposters and school tours, visit our website at www.greenventure.ca

Contact Virginia at education@greenventure.ca or 905 540 8787 x 154

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