Schools, groups pitching in for Earth Day

Greater Trail communities and schools have a variety of activities planned for Earth Day on April 22.

“The earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship.”

Regardless of faith, these words of Pope John Paul II, are especially poignant as Earth Day approaches.

For 43 years, April 22 has been observed as an international day to celebrate the Earth, with events held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental causes.

Around the Greater Trail area, schools and numerous community groups are supporting the day with activities which will span the course of the week.

On Saturday, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB)  is sponsoring its 10th annual Trash to Treasure Day, which has grown into a Kootenay-wide tradition.

“About 10 years ago, the Village of Fruitvale approached us with the concept of cleaning out stuff you no longer need, that still has a life to it, and place it curbside with a “free” sign on it,” said Tim Dueck, RDKB’s solid waste program coordinator.

“It’s not a free-trash day, rather, it is a fantastic day to clean out the garage and de-clutter.”

Dueck said the reusable items the landfill attendants see thrown away on a daily basis are mind-boggling.

“There is a tremendous amount of things that people just have no use for anymore,” he explained. “And this is a perfect way to pass the stuff along and keep it out of the landfill.”

During the week, district schools have a range of activities planned to engage students in making positive changes to the environment.

At MacLean Elementary in Rossland, children’s author Yolanda Ridge spoke to Grade 3 students on Wednesday in conjunction with “Authors for Earth Day.” As part of the visit, students researched four not-for-profit conservation organizations, and voted for their favourite.

Ridge donated her speaking fee by writing a cheque to the cause chosen by the students.

Students at James L. Webster Elementary will be participating in “Lights out Canada,” an initiative that teaches students to make small changes and reduce ecological footprints.

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“That day, students will be wearing green to school and a clean up of our local area is planned,” said Carolyn Catalano, principal.

St Michael’s School students will be giving thanks with a school mass, planting seeds, and at the end of the month, using compost from its recycling and compost program to plant flowers in its Mary Garden.

During this week and next, Fruitvale Elementary School (FES) is participating in a community

clean-up, with each division cleaning up a section of the community around the school, said Brian Stefani, principal.

On Monday, FES students are encouraged to pack a litter-free lunch; K-1 will be planting seeds to grow at home; and the primary department will be presenting three performances of the play, “The Lorax,” a Dr. Seuss story about a grumpy yet charming creature (Lorax), who fights to protect his world.

On Tuesday, Glenmerry School is encouraging families to take action and help the environment by reducing the amount of packaging and waste brought to school. Families are asked to plan out a lunch and recess snacks that come in reusable containers to help reduce the amount of garbage that at times, ends up on its grassy fields.

Later that day, the Warfield Beavers will gather to participate in “Pitch-in 2013,” which starts at the Warfield Hall at 6 p.m.

Routes will be handed out to the kids, along bags and gloves to help the village clean its streets.

J.L. Crowe Secondary has begun an initiative, with the help from various community groups, called the Community Garden. So far, on school grounds, the enclosed space has 12 raised beds, drainage gravel, and top soil for planting.

“All of this will enable all of our classes to benefit in the education and skills in learning how to become the best urban agriculturalists,” said Colin Adamson, teacher, Sustainable Resources and Outdoor Education Academy.

On April 27, community groups will be gathering to support Earth Day, by clearing litter from both sides of the highway.

The Trail Rotary will clean up the highway from Tadanac to Rivervale; and the Glenmerry Citizens Association will start at Bryan’s Transfer and end its garbage pick up at the bottom of the S-hill.