"The students used the knowledge gained from their inquiry projects to complete a sustainability audit of the school with the help of the Sustainability Manager from the University of Northern BC (UNBC)."
PART 1: Tell us about the learners at your school. (Gathering Evidence/Scanning)
(E.g. what did you notice about the experience of your learners that was most important to your work? Are you a rural, urban or new school?)
FLESS is a rural school in Northern B.C. We enroll students in grades 4-12 and the school population is about 300 students. Because we are a rural school, students have a good understanding of social and political issues surrounding small town life as well as agriculture, fishing and forestry/mining, but they tend to lack an understanding of BC, Canada and the world as a whole. Many students have never traveled far; a majority has never been outside the province. However, many students aspire to travel and/or move away from Fraser Lake after graduation, so I was aiming to help students form a deeper understanding of the bigger picture and how they are responsible for creating an environment that will support not just their own but also future generations.
PART 2: What did you do? (Focus and Plan, New Learning)
(What keys areas of health and learning did you focus on? What were your driving questions? What contributed to the need to address health and learning at your school? What did you do to make things better? What tools/resources did you use?)
The grant was used to gain access to the Be The Change Earth Alliance inquiry resources. Students used those resources to better understand different sustainability projects and how they can make a difference in their daily actions, including pre-vetted online research, personal activities (like monitoring paper consumption in households) and reflecting on their part in creating sustainability in their everyday life.
PART 3: How did it go? (Taking Action)
(E.g. What actions or strategies did you decide on? Who was involved? What type of support did you gather? How were students involved? What new areas of professional learning did you explore? What difference did this make for students and the school community? How did this impact students’ learning?)
The students used the knowledge gained from their inquiry projects to complete a sustainability audit of the school with the help of the Sustainability Manager from the University of Northern BC (UNBC). The students determined ways to impact the school and start initiatives to make the school “greener” for the next school year. Many students became involved in tutoring the elementary grade students to be more waste-conscious, participated in Earth Day and became conscious of the many different ways to change personal habits.
PART 4: What are your reflections and how can you build on your efforts? (Reflect & Evaluate)
(E.g. what change was evident? What did you use as a baseline for evidence of change? What did you learn from the inquiry? What is most important for you to learn to build on your efforts to sustain changes for your students and in your school? What advice do you have for others?)
The students’ efforts made a difference in the amount of recycling the school was participating in. Using the “Green Team” as a face for the efforts meant that other students had a point of contact to ask questions about recycling and how to be more waste-conscious. I would like to see the students take on more of a leading role next year by completing another sustainability audit and comparing the results. It would also be great to include the leadership group that already provides many events for the students and create opportunities for school-wide campaigns. I would also like to see more cross-over between the different subject areas and grades to support long-term inquiry projects that lead to continuous change in habits.
*This story was originally shared on the Healthy Schools BC Stories Map.