“The children are very involved in helping Mother Earth,” said Erma Cox, principal at Debert Elementary School.
“The children have planted a community garden here at the school and they have a green team that does composting,” she said. “And our lunch room is set up so that it’s reduce, reuse and recycle and all of the food products go into a compost bin there.”
Students also collect all juice containers, which are then sold for recycling, and those proceeds are used to buy supplies for their community garden, a project undertaken last year for the first time.
Staff contribute to the overall effort by recycling such items as printer toner cartridges and because of the overall efforts undertaken to try to better respect the planted, Cox said, she entered the school into a Canada-wide Recycle for Education Contest held by Staples Canada.
The contest is broken down into 100 regional school finalists from across the country, from which 10 winners are selected.
The 10 winning schools each receive $25,000 to put towards a new computer lab in their respective institutions.
This year’s regional winner, who received the news in a surprise announcement, was River Hebert District High School.
The students won for their efforts to construct wooden houses for local mason bees, pollinators unique to the Bay of Fundy ecosystem. As well, Grade 9 students at the school produce raised garden beds that are distributed throughout the community at such places as local senior’s facility and the Joggins Fossil Institute.
While the Debert school may not have come out on top this year, Cox expressed pride in all the efforts that her students are involved in.
“Everybody’s involved,” she said. “All 146 kids help with cleaning up in the yard. We have people who, when the apples fall off in the fall, that pick them up and get them into the compost buckets so that they are not attracting bees and stuff that kids are allergic to and trying to make it safer for them.”
The students also participate in conservation activities such as Earth Day and Lights Out Canada, she said.
“So it’s all about Mother Nature things.”