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An "Eco-Schools Experience" Blog

by Ann Gilmore | Apr 18, 2016

Eco-Schools Experience

By: Jacob , Kyrah , and Alyssa (grade 10s) , Austin (grade 11)

At Stamford Collegiate in Niagara Falls, the Eco-Freaks have been busy trying to achieve Platinum status for the third year in a row.  We are a diverse group of about 30 students, ranging from grade 9 through 12. Our Green Hornets have been diligent with recycling, and added a door to door classroom recycling service.  The Environmental Science class has targeted hallway recycling and has created recycling stations and added stickers to the bins to assist with sorting waste. Green bins have been strategically placed to deal with reducing paper towels in the waste stream. The SHSM Horticultue students have been very busy greening the school grounds and reforesting the East side of the building.

Our school has just undergone a renovation where windows were added to the south side of the building to provide more natural lighting. New bicycle racks were also added, to help with the growing number of cyclists!

We have attempted to encourage reusing materials and collected Halloween costumes for Project Share, 1700 pairs of shoes for Haiti through Interact with Soles for Soles, and are planning a massive clothing, household items and electronics drive for Earth Day.  

We have partnered with the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority to plant native tree species to reforest an area, and worked with a local elementary school to design a naturalized playground.

Students’ Council is eagerly anticipating our Earth Day Festival.  It will start with an assembly featuring First Nation drummers, student performers, talks and video clips.  Then, the entire school will participate in a neighbourhood cleanup.  In the afternoon, there will be a BBQ with vegetarian options, a smoothie bicycle, musicians, movies, solar oven displays, plantings, chalk drawings, bead making, First Nations medicine wheel talks, tree identification, upcycling and many more hands on activities for the students. It promises to be the highlight of this school year!

Jacob (grade 10),

At the Eco Summit I learned the effects of technology on the world. The tech we are using to clean the ocean and clarify the air ( I went home on my own time and studied up the machine tech used to purify air/water ). The Air Tech used was called Airocide, which pulls out ethylene gas out of the air. I also learned the differences between the two species of the Humming Bird. Also, I learned how they pick their nests ( in tree holes ). I learned that plastic has BPA in it and that BPA in the plastic and it gets in our waters causing problems with the environment. I also learned that many household items contain many harmful products, such as make up, toothpaste, windex, etc. Overall it was a very good experience it taught me a lot and I look forward to hopefully be able to go again next year.

Alyssa (grade 10),

I learned about how plastic is bad because it has something in it called BPA and it’s a component of plastic that can affect hormones and cause birth defects. That means if you touch plastic like water bottles and receipts you can get this chemical into you. I also learned that you can make super cool music videos about environmental problems to raise awareness. I learned that birds are delicate, if you scare them when they are sitting in a nest and trying to stay warm they will fly away and freeze to death. I learned that the canadian goose almost went extinct 50 or 60 years or so ago. I learned that everything contains harmful and toxic chemicals, like makeup, plastic, paint, wrappers, cleaners, pipes, store receipts, toys, cars, junk food. In other words, it feels like everything is out to get you. I thought that the event was a good experience and I got to meet people that shared our views and were quite knowledgeable about the environment. It makes me feel happy that young people are taking more of an interest in environmental problems and making an effort to do something about it.

Kyrah (grade 10),  

During the Eco-schools event, I was able to widen my horizons and expand my knowledge about the environment and ecological issues. This was very helpful because when I pursue my future career I would like to somehow get involved in an ecological campaign. I might not take an environmental job path, but I  feel everyone should at least know what is going on, on the planet they're currently residing on. While I was attending the event, I learned many things. One piece of information that I had found out is that approximately 75% of our fresh water is in Canada. Another thing is that I found out how to get my knowledge across to my Elders . This can be a problem for aspiring environmentalists. Not only does it mean a halt in our thought process, it also means your higher ups might know the limits of what you know, and ultimately, not depend on you as much as they could. My favourite part of this event is that I was able to meet and talk to other eco-schools. This is because when you're making up events for the future, it's great to get an outside view on it. It also helps to get connected to other school communities.

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