Nelson-area students take the Eco-Challenge
Wildsight’s Beyond Recycling program is teaching kids in Salmo, Balfour and Nelson how to shrink their footprints — their ecological footprints.
The kids in intermediate classes at Salmo, Redfish and Rosemont elementary schools 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 are investigating how big a footprint their daily lives have,” said Monica Nissen, Wildsight’s education program manager. “They’ll measure things like electricity and gas use and find ways to reduce it. They’ll add up the kilograms of garbage and find ways to recycle more.”
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 teachers, Beyond Recycling educators Mary Searchfield and Nissen outline the key concepts of energy and water use and work to find ways to reduce waste. 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 Kathleen Hunter’s, Jann Schmidt’s and John Schnare’s classes will complete their challenge by mid-March.
“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.”