Kinnaird Elementary has been rewarded for its environmental efforts with a $25,000 prize.
In the Staples Canada’s Annual Superpower your School Contest, the students at Kinnaird went up against over 600 other schools across the country. Their task was to highlight what initiatives they have done in the past and are currently doing to save the planet.
Ten other schools across the country also received $25,000.
In collaboration with Earth Day Canada, the nationwide contest was held between Jan. 5 and Jan. 31, 2015.
“We’re real excited here at Kinnaird Elementary,” said Principal Wayne Naka, “we applied for this grant earlier in the Spring and it was an initiative for schools across the country that had done anything environmentally. They were going to pick one school from Western Canada and we were the very fortunate recipients of the $25,000.”
Early Tuesday morning, a surprise assembly was called for all but the youngest of children at the elementary school. Once the students had assembled and settled down, the Staples representative explained why they were awarding the Castlegar school and how amazed they were with all the projects they’ve completed in such a short time.
“We have done a tonne of environmental stuff on our school grounds over the last five to six years,” Naka continued, “so it was an easy fill-out for us. We just weren’t sure how many other schools were doing it.”
Six years ago, School District 20 cut down all of the mature trees on the grounds to build a parent parking lot. Pick-up and drop-off was made easier, but the grounds were left barren with only grass fields. One year later, Kinnaird established a schoolyard greening committee with students, staff and parents banding together to establish a five year plan to green the school grounds.
Through successful grant applications and determination the group was able to accomplish a lot.
Since then, 40 mature trees have been planted, five large shrub gardens were installed along with an enclosed vegetable garden. A statue was acquired to accompany the greenery. Additionally, indoor grow-lite stations were purchased, a school-wide composting and recycling program was put in place and funds were acquired to support curriculum writing for the gardens and pond.
The awarded $25,000 will go a long way in outfitting Kinnaird with much needed upgrades.
“We’re going to be able to use this money and further enhance technology in our school. We may invest in another set of laptops on a revolving cart that can go right into classrooms rather than them having to go to the lab.”
Naka said the school has a maker-space where students do programming and construct various devices such as robots and some of this money may be put towards that as well. A new P.A. system is up for discussion as well as many other beneficial projects.
The contest is now in its fifth year and has previously awarded 40 environmentally conscious schools the latest technology to empower students to learn and nurture their passion for the environment.