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Evergreen School - 2013

Team Name: Evergreen Eco Club

Team Type: Club

Campaign Goal:

From simple observation, we found that there were a number of different types of waste in our school. In particular, we found that food waste was something that we wanted to decrease and make a change around. We collected all of the food garbage for one day (from snacks and lunches) and spread it out on a tarp to see how much it would be. Our goal is to increase the use of reusable containers in lunches and snacks and to decrease the amount of pre-packaged factory food that students bring to school.




What did we do?

  • We had a few meetings where we brainstormed ideas. Two of our teachers decided to let us use their worm composters to learn more about composting and how food waste can actually be cycled back into compost to grow plants and even food. We met at a DC meeting part way through the year and that is when we really came up with our plan to help promote healthy and environmentally friendly snacks and lunches.
  • We applied for (and received) a grant from ConocoPhillips for environmental initiatives. This grant is going to help pay for us to attend the DC celebration as well as support our Eco Club project(s)
  • We have been learning about worm composting by looking after worms and feeding them scraps in the staff lunchroom. We plan to purchase two more worm bins that will live in different classes in the school to help other students learn about composting.
  • We are creating posters that say “I Eat Dirt” and which show how different foods we eat came from things grown in soil to help get kids wondering and talking about composting and food waste.
  • We had a granola bar day where the Eco-Club students made healthy granola bars for the whole school. We asked the students to bring a reusable container for their granola bars that day and posted the recipe on our Website.
  • We will be inviting families to send in their own recipes for healthy litterless snacks and lunches which we will compile into an online “cook book” of ideas so that families can have lots of ideas for lunches and snacks that can be packed in a reusable container.
  • We are working with someone from the Calgary Zoo “Grounds for Change” program to learn more about the foods we eat and what we can grow here in Alberta. She is helping us to make our own planter containers out of recyclable/ reusable goods and will also be working with 6 classes in the school to make some different types of planters out of a variety of things (e.g. newspaper, plastic water bottles, toilet paper rolls, etc.). We plan to plant some different vegetables in our planters, using some of the compost from our worm bins.


The Best Part

We loved doing the hands-on activites: making granola bars, feeding worms, building and planting planters. We are excited that the other students that aren’t in Eco-Club are interested in our work and that the teachers are supporting our work by participating in our challenges.


Advice

Apply for a grant- the money has really helped us to focus on our work and not on trying to raise money. Try to have lots of hands-on participation by the students. The students have really bought in and are building a sense of responsibility to the environment that may not have come so easily if they had not done so much of the work themselves.


Did We Reach our Goal?

We have not measured the results of our campaign yet as we got started quite late in the year. My sense is that we have at least raised awareness around food waste and how to reduce it.


What we are most proud of

Teachers were very excited and supportive of our “Garbage collection day” where we collected all of the garbage in the school to increase awareness and measure how much food packaging students really bring to school. Students were surprised by the piles of garbage in our gathering space. You can see a little bit of info about it at http://projects.cbe.ab.ca/evergreen/Evergreen_Learning_Commons_Online/Garbage_Day.html Everyone loved the granola bars and said they were delicious! Students and teachers have been very curious about the worms and composters. We will be sharing more with them in the next few weeks with our plantings and our “We Eat Dirt” artwork.


What we are planning to work on next

To make our online cookbook of litter-less snack ideas and have another garbage collection day near the end of the year to see if we have made a difference and to start a commercial compost program in our lunchroom (hopefully next year).


Additional Info

We have had a great year and lots of fun trying to make a difference. We would like to thank the teachers, students, and parents of Evergreen School for supporting the work of the Eco-club!