Motivated to make a difference, the Grades 4-6 students in Beyond Recycling—our sustainability education program—are coming up with innovative ideas to meet complex environmental challenges. As the culmination of their eight-month journey beyond recycling, each of the 21 participating classes around the Columbia Basin discovered how small steps can create big changes.
Once a week since the fall, the students have been exploring their ecological footprint, waste, energy, climate change, water and food. They’ve become garbologists, made their own paper, tracked the life cycles of everyday objects and considered how their choices impact the world around them.
They have designed sustainable cities of the future, planted trees in their schoolyard, led beach cleanups and turned trash into art. Here are a few highlights from the year.
Mr. Nick’s class from Kimberley Independent School took their learning outside of their classroom walls and into the global village as they discovered daily issues faced by people around the world around fresh drinking water. The students worked in teams to problem solve some of the issues: first, they had to get clean water into ten cups, and then, they had to decide what to use the water for—agriculture, industrial or human needs. They realized how difficult it is to make important decisions around resource management.
Grade 5/6 students from Rossland Summit School celebrated Earth Day by launching Plastic Bay Free City. After doing an interview with the local grocery store, these enterprising students organized a cloth bag drive so they could launch a Borrow-A-Bag program, which is now running at the local grocery store.
Grade 6 classes at Isabella Dicken Elementary School combined sustainability and art, transforming trash into treasure. One student, Ruby, addressed the issue of plastic waste by weaving together 400 plastic bags into a hammock!
Grade 5 Robson students learned about different types of trees and then rolled up their sleeves and worked all day to plant maple, lilac and willow trees around their school grounds. They even wrapped the tree with protective wire and placed postcards on them describing how each tree could help their school.
All of the students who participated in Beyond Recycling this year felt empowered and equipped to make a difference for our environment. They are inspired to keep doing their part to help keep the planet healthy every day! Read about more Beyond Recycling student action projects here.