Wildsight’s Beyond Recycling program is teaching kids in Castlegar and Robson how to shrink their footprints—their Ecological Footprints.
The kids of Mrs. Evdokimoff’s Grade 6 class at Twin Rivers Elementary School and Mrs. Minor’s Grade 6 class at Robson Community School are starting a month-long survey of how their homes and schools use resources—energy, water, goods—and what they can do to improve the numbers.
“The kids will investigate how big a footprint their daily lives have,” said Monica Nissen, Wildsight’s Education Program Manager. “They’ll measure things like electrical and gas use and find ways to reduce it. They’ll add up the kilograms of garbage and find ways to recycle more. It’s an intensive process, but they’re ready to tackle it.”
The students are taking part in the 22-week Beyond Recycling curriculum, which is the only program of its type in the Columbia Basin. Working with the classroom teacher, Beyond Recycling educator Jess Thomson outlines the key concepts of energy and water use and works to find ways to reduce waste. “The students have learned how to make better choices when it comes to using resources in their homes. The parents are excited to see the lower utility bills, and competing with another school in the challenge also adds a level of competition and responsibility to the student’s actions. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved!”
In Beyond Recycling, students learn how their lifestyles use and impact resources and land.
“We all use land, water, energy and raw materials to meet the needs of our daily lives,” Nissen said. Where are we missing an opportunity to use less? Let’s find the gaps and fill them in with responsible choices.”
During the Beyond Recycling curriculum, (which meets BC Ministry of Education learning outcomes for science,) students study the ‘lifecycle’ of everyday items, the resources used to make them, and the various sources of energy used for heat, light and transportation.
The Eco-Challenge lasts four weeks. Students in Mrs. Evdokimoff’s and in Mrs. Minor’s class will complete their challenge on February 21.
“After students and families investigate, they set commitments to take action,” Nissen said. “For one month, students will do a variety of things at home to save energy, reduce waste, reduce water use, and contribute less carbon emissions to the atmosphere.”
Wildsight acknowledges our generous partners and funders who support the Beyond Recycling program: Regional District of Central Kootenay, Columbia Basin Trust, FortisBC, BC Hydro, National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and Waste Management Inc.
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Wildsight works locally, regionally and globally to protect biodiversity and encourage sustainable communities in Canada’s Columbia and southern Rocky
This area is internationally recognized as a keystone to conservation in western North America.