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Students turn trash to art for Earth Day

Kootenay Orchard students in Mrs. Potter’s Grade 5 class spent Earth Day learning about all different facets of the earth’s interconnected web of life. The class also created Trash to Treasure art projects as a part of Wildsight’s Beyond Recycling education program.  - Arne Petryshen photo
Kootenay Orchard students in Mrs. Potter’s Grade 5 class spent Earth Day learning about all different facets of the earth’s interconnected web of life. The class also created Trash to Treasure art projects as a part of Wildsight’s Beyond Recycling education program.
— image credit: Arne Petryshen photo

To celebrate Earth Day yesterday, April 22, students here in the Kootenays, and right here in Cranbrook, participated in Wildsight's Beyond Recycling program. At Kootenay Orchards School, Mrs. Potter's Grade 5 class undertook a Trash to Treasure art project. The students found items that would usually have gone to the landfill and instead reused them for a variety of different artful creations, from a cat house made out of boxes, a slingshot made of an antler and buggy rope, and a wind chime made out of spoons.

Students had their projects out on display in the school library all day Tuesday, as they learned about various facets of the earth and the connections that tie everything together.

Earth Day is celebrated around the world.

Monica Nissen, Wildsight's education program manager, said that kids participating in Wildsight's program have planned a variety of hands-on activities to celebrate. Those include recycled art projects, planting salad greens, planting pollinator-friendly flowers, making paper from recycled newspaper, going on energy efficiency building tours and trash to treasure art.  Nissen said the projects are to encourage students to consider consumption in a new light.

"The best part of the program is watching the kids become empowered, recognizing that their individual actions can have a positive impact and make a difference", Nissen said.

She explained that Beyond Recycling is a 22-week, classroom-based program for Grades 4-7 delivered in 11 schools across the Columbia Basin. It takes students on a journey to understand the impacts of lifestyle choices and highlights the importance of individual actions in creating sustainability. Highlights include a tour of the local landfill and recycling centre and the multi-week 'Eco-Challenge', in which students challenge themselves to reduce their energy consumption, generate less waste and reduce their ecological footprint.

Nissen said Beyond Recycling is in its seventh year and it has been delivered in 40 classrooms across the Columbia Basin to 962 students. This year, it is currently being delivered in 11 classrooms in Cranbrook, Kimberley, Kaslo, Nelson, Castlegar, Fernie, Winlaw, South Slocan and Creston.

Wildsight wishes to recognize the Columbia Basin Trust, Government of Canada, BC Hydro, Fortis BC, Regional District of Central Kootenay and Waste Management Inc. for their generous support of this program.

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