A Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district elementary’s environmental efforts have garnered praise from the David Suzuki Foundation.
Seaview Elementary School in Lantzville won the People’s Choice prize for B.C. in the foundation’s Future Ground Prize contest, awarding youth-directed projects benefiting the environment. Jolaine Canty, sponsor and Seaview librarian, and students won $2,500 and had the opportunity to chat with David Suzuki on June 22.
The Seaview Takes a Stand initiative, which began five years ago, has involved students and staff petitioning to protect a nearby forest, decrease plastic waste in the ocean and win an award in the 2018 Plastic Grab Bag Challenge by virtue of collecting 6,000 plastic bags, according to the foundation.
Food composting devices have been purchaed by the school and the garden is being converted to the Kwikwumluxw (little root in the Hul’qumi’num language) Learning Garden, an outdoor learning space.
Where the money will be allocated is still to be determined, but Canty said at least some will likely go to the garden.
“We’re really trying to incorporate our Hul’qumi’num, so all around the outside we’ve already built these animals that will have all the Hul’qumi’num words and so there’ll be story walks, where kids will create stories,” said Canty. “We’ve got benches in there, so you can do your lessons outside. We’ve got a garden bed for each class, so each class now will be able to come out in the fall and the spring and plant whatever they choose to plant.”
The virtual call with David Suzuki was exciting, according to Canty. Two student leaders had a chance to speak to the renowned scientist, author and broadcaster.
“It was a Zoom call where David Suzuki presented to us and talked about each of the projects, especially the four projects that won and then [we] outlined what it means to be a youth activist, and how students finding their voice has helped these Grade 7s become leaders,” recounted Canty. “And so they each talked about that and then they talked about what it means to win.”
Canty said she is hoping the learning garden is complete for September.