John Barsby Stewardship Team
- Mixed Secondary School Grades
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BC GreenGames Essay - John Barsby
We chose to work towards the Water Management award in the BC GreenGames, as we are fortunate to be in such close proximity to our own Chase River stream, adjacent to our school. We, as students, felt that it was important to protect it, ensure its health, and work towards restoring the nearby land. We felt inspired to take action because of the environmental crisis we are currently in. This topic is important because healthy streams are crucial to biodiversity within ecosystems. They are vital habitats for many aquatic creatures, and provide a mechanism to transport food, nutrients and gases to many different organisms and areas.
We achieved this goal by having the grade eight Land-Based class (a year-long class offered at John Barsby) work alongside our student-led Eco Club. They worked hard planting trees, tearing down invasive species that ran along our river, and educating our student peers on the importance of environmental issues. We were mainly led by our school’s Land-Based teacher, Adam McClinton and aided by Janet Nelson, a science teacher, as well as support from the City of Nanaimo. In the on-going process, students would come to class prepared to work outside along the stream bed, sometimes under instruction of the City of Nanaimo. On Fridays, they were also aided by members of the Eco Club, who focused on clearing and maintaining the adjoined garden in front of the Chase River. Together, the two groups helped one another in their mission for better water management and increased awareness of environmental issues. The Eco Club also worked on educating the student body on waste management, in hopes that this would decrease the amount of waste entering the river. This included starting a composting program, creating presentations about waste management and what to do with their waste, as well as motivating the student body on why they should care.
Our team faced a few challenges throughout the project. The first adversity that we came up against was natural weather. We faced a very cold and wet winter, which carried through from October until now. This cut our window of opportunity in half, as we had a goal to plant 300 trees. Hand in hand with this issue, we found that encouraging students to get excited for going outside grew harder as the weather turned. With colder temperatures came dulled interest. Within the school itself, there was some difficulty in starting up our zero-waste initiative as well, although the push-back has gotten better as the program becomes more well known. All this hard work and adversity seems to have paid off, however, as the Chase River and surrounding land already looks much better! The river bank has been cleared of most invasive species, new trees have been planted, and the garden has been cleared and re-planted. This certainly benefits the school and surrounding community, as it allows for more interaction with our natural surroundings in a safe environment. There is now an area for walking along the river bank and for sitting in the garden.
Our project, while having both highs and lows, has been an overall success. We met our big goal of planting 300 trees over the year. We also have seen more enthusiasm amongst our student body, in terms of environmental stewardship. In the future, our project will hopefully continue through the Land-Based class and Eco Club, who will continue to devote their time to restoration projects along the river and to keep our streams happy!