Yaqan Nukiy Change Makers
- Mixed Middle School Grades
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Yaqan Nukiy's Project with a Purpose program represents a comprehensive, inter-grade, and multi year approach to sustainability and environmental education. Student in the middle years grades are given opportunities to learn about the importance of ecological sustainability, how to live sustainable lives and find ways that they might reduce their school's, community's and country's ecological footprint.
The projects are student driven and emphasize hands-on learning opportunities. Projects range from small-scale classroom activities – such as the refining of a demonstration batch of biodiesel – to activities with a firm impact on the provincial discourse on sustainability – such as the student interviews of the Minister of the Environment. Students began this year by reviewing ways in which the school could reduce consumption, enhance recycling and repurposing, and support environmental restoration in their community. Their project ideas were considerable and ambitious.
Upon receiving grant funding, they decided to direct a great deal of their classroom funds to the development of a green school. They worked with Permaculture Design professionals to draft a new landscape that would include a greenhouse, mulched grow beds and native plant gardens, comprehensive composting, and remediation of habitat (both with the construction and installation of bird, bat and solitary bee houses, and the restoration of degraded riparian ecosystems.
The projects also entailed a cooperation between the middle years students who planned and did the bulk of the work, and the primary years students (specifically the kindergarten and 1st graders) who assisted in the fine details. In other words, they splatter painted the bird/bat/bee houses – while the intermediates attempted to dispense the rationale for the projects. Yet – birds and bees are rarely too discerning when it comes to selecting a house.
Overall the completed projects include:
- Development of a permaculture-inspired plan to ‘green’ the grounds
- Student construction of a greenhouse, aquaponics system, and climate battery
- Implementation of school-wide composting program using bokashi and vermiculture
- Remediation of local riparian ecosystem with community partners
- Development of habitat spaces for native species of solitary bees, bats, and birds
- Student assembly of solar panels and wind turbine to off-set energy usage in the greenhouse