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Reynolds' enviro projects rewarded

Reynolds secondary teacher Heather Coey, left, and Grade 9 students Hannah Berry, 14, and Erinne Paisley, 15, brandish gardening tools while standing in the school’s lush courtyard. The school recently won a $25,000 prize for its environmental initiatives, including reclaiming a Garry oak meadow at the front of the school, and planting and tending to the courtyard garden. - Kyle Slavin/News staff
Reynolds secondary teacher Heather Coey, left, and Grade 9 students Hannah Berry, 14, and Erinne Paisley, 15, brandish gardening tools while standing in the school’s lush courtyard. The school recently won a $25,000 prize for its environmental initiatives, including reclaiming a Garry oak meadow at the front of the school, and planting and tending to the courtyard garden.
— image credit: Kyle Slavin/News staff

Students at Reynolds secondary school aren’t just going green, they’re making it.

Members of the school’s green group have once again been recognized for their environmentalism, and on May 30 were awarded $25,000 toward the purchase of new computers for the school from Staples Canada.

Green group, an offshoot of Get R.E.A.L. (Reynolds Eco Action Leaders) has spent much of the last year developing green spaces around the school, including a reclaimed Garry oak meadow at the main entrance. The inner courtyard has also been a focal point in 2011-12, as students have reintroduced native plant species, fostered chickens and grown vegetables for the school’s local salad bar on the grounds.

These initiatives, as well as the school’s zero-waste recycling and compost program, a pilot project for the Greater Victoria School District, helped secure the group one of the Eco Computer Lab Contest prizes from Staples, awarded to 20 schools across Canada.

Though no final decision has been made, green group is considering spending the cash on a set of iPads for use as a mobile computer lab.

Eco projects at Reynolds have also won awards at the B.C. Green Games, Science World’s annual environmental action contest for B.C. schools, every year since the contest’s inception in 2009.

With so many successful school-based projects already on their resumé, green group teacher Heather Coey hopes next year to see the enviro leaders become even more engaged in the community outside of the high school.

“I think it’s time for the kids to move into a more activist role and speak to Saanich council about light rail and the future of our infrastructure, so we’re not as reliant on the automobile,” said Coey, who’s involved in each project from the early brainstorming stages onward.

Next year’s plans also include producing seeds on site and developing an under-used “free store.”

“We’re trying to get a handle on stuff, consumerism,” she said. “We need to do more of an educational push, so that people are motivated to not buy as much and to reuse.”

 

nnorth@saanichnews.com

 

 

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